Read Special Delivery by Philip C. Stead Matthew Cordell Online


Sadie is on her way to deliver an elephant to her Great-Aunt Josephine, who lives completely alone and can really use the company. She tries everything from mailing the elephant to boarding a plane, a train, and an alligator to get to her aunt's home. Along the way she meets an array of interesting characters, including an odd postal worker and a gang of bandit monkeys, whSadie is on her way to deliver an elephant to her Great-Aunt Josephine, who lives completely alone and can really use the company. She tries everything from mailing the elephant to boarding a plane, a train, and an alligator to get to her aunt's home. Along the way she meets an array of interesting characters, including an odd postal worker and a gang of bandit monkeys, who all help her get where she is going. This eccentric and hilarious story from Philip C. Stead, the author of the Caldecott-winning A Sick Day for Amos McGee and illustrator Matthew Cordell will surprise and entertain from beginning to end....

Title : Special Delivery
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781596439313
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 40 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Special Delivery Reviews

  • Amy
    2019-02-11 21:38

    Nine things I love about Special Delivery:1) Sadie's care and concern for her Great-Aunt Josephine. Who says kids can't look outside of themselves and think of others? Besides, Great-Aunt Josephine is ALMOST COMPLETELY ALONE! :) 2) Jim's outdoor post office...adorable!! (Don't you love the keys hanging from his belt??!!)3) Matthew Cordell's illustrations....a cross between Quentin Blake and the cartoon work in Schoolhouse Rock. Matthew's illustrations are an absolute stellar companion to the text of the story. 4) Elephant is NOT afraid of mice!5) Elephants need goggles when flying. An absolute must!6) Alligators are happy to aid in a mission. All you have to do is ask nicely. :) And, thanking them with a giant stick of bubble gum is the perfect act of gratitude!7) Bean-loving monkey bandits! How harmful can they be? :)8) Who wouldn't love being rescued by an ice cream truck? "Doo dee doo dee doo..."9) Sometimes you can feel almost completely alone...even when you are not almost completely alone. Thank you, Sadie, for your heart!!

  • Erin
    2019-02-14 16:42

    Do the illustrations in Special Delivery remind anyone else of Quentin Blake? I enjoy the reassuring, familiar feel of them. I can't help but love Sadie and her dedication to her Great-Aunt Josephine and also her embrace of travel and adventure. The sound effects and repetitions will make this an excellent read aloud, and it would work well in a unit about letter writing (even though mailing an elephant is not exactly the same) or as a discussion about how fun it is to receive packages in the mail from loved ones. My 4 year old son also enjoyed this book, pointing out many small details in the illustrations that I had overlooked.

  • Cecelia
    2019-02-07 15:45

    The days of sending physical letters in the mail are almost done (if not gone already), but I still wax nostalgic for “real mail.” It might have something to do with all of those international pen pals I kept in touch with as a preteen, and definitely has something to do with The Jolly Postman, still one of my favorite picture books ever. When I saw a picture book with a postage stamp cover, I had to take a look. I could keep Philip C. Stead’s Special Delivery on my coffee table forever, if only for Matthew Cordell’s fantastic illustrations.Sadie is determined to send her Great-Aunt Josephine an elephant, to alleviate her loneliness (of course! what a thoughtful grand-niece…). She first tries to send the elephant by post, but the amount of stamps needed more than fill a wheelbarrow – that won’t work! Sadie soon takes matters into her own (creative) hands, and she and the elephant travel far and wide by plane, train and ice cream truck, meeting many interesting creatures and characters along the way. In Special Delivery, Stead has created an outlandish adventure that will appeal to animal lovers and travelers alike. The narrative is a bit disjointed in parts, as Sadie and her elephant jump from one unlikely scenario to another. Some transitions and conversations are left to the imagination. That said, Stead’s story tickles the imagination, and will likely prompt the telling of other tall tales among its readers. It’s inspirational like that.The real star of this book? Matthew Cordell’s illustrations. They have a deliciously old-fashioned feel, in a style that reminded me of Bill Peet. Sadie is the main (human) character, but I found myself looking at the animals on each page first – their expressions as they have these unusual adventures are hilarious and spot-on. Other fun details in the art: Words made out of train smoke, stamps upon stamps, and the unexpected reunion scene at the end, when the reader finally learns the “real” story.Special Delivery does what the best picture books do so well: it inspires imagination and creativity, while telling a silly story that will spark questions and laughter. It may not have been my exact cup of tea, but it’s sure to become the favorite book of many children this year.Recommended for: young readers, and parents/teachers/interested adults looking for books that will speak to an adventurous spirit.

  • Kristine Hansen
    2019-02-07 20:38

    Cute and whimsical with a lot of fun formatting and illustration. I liked all the different ways that this elephant is delivered, loved even more the conclusion when we finally get to meet her aunt. I laughed at the end though I have to ask - since when to monkeys eat so many beans? O.o

  • Hannah
    2019-02-19 21:45

    Last month, the zany, heartfelt, and wonderful Special Delivery arrived. A picture book written by Philip C. Stead and illustrated by Matthew Cordell, Special Delivery is proof that the pairing of Stead and Cordell is pure hilarious magic. From Sadie, a headstrong little girl who is determined to get an elephant to her Great-Aunt Josephine, “who lives almost completely alone and could really use the company,” to banana-wielding, bean-eating monkey train bandits, this book is a wild and weird romp that readers will be delighted to take. It is clear that both Stead and Cordell just GET the way kids’s minds work and how they enjoy silliness. Stead always has a gentle yet humorous way of telling tales, and Cordell’s art emanates whimsy and humor that recalls William Steig and playfulness that reminds one of Ludwig Bemelmans. The book arose from an organic process between Cordell and Stead that Cordell described as “free-form fun.” Also, “chugga chugga chugga beans beans beans” has become my new mantra. Ages 3-7.

  • Barbara
    2019-02-17 18:33

    Because Sadie's Great-Aunt Josephine lives alone, she will surely relish the gift of an elephant companion. But getting it there presents quite a problem. She can't mail it or fly it, but Sadie is not put off by the challenges its delivery presents. With the help of an alligator, a train, and an ice cream truck, Sadie perseveres and makes a successful delivery. The whimsical text and detailed illustrations will make readers smile as they see that Sadie's elderly relative isn't all that lonely, after all. The last illustration showing the alligator blowing a bubble from its bubble gum gift is delightful, vividly attesting to Sadie's thoughtfulness and the book's over-the-top humor. Young readers will enjoy hearing this one read aloud and clamor for more. They're guaranteed to echo some of the sounds in the book.

  • Kellee
    2019-01-20 22:47

    Review at: is a book that is getting a lot of love recently, and I now know why. Special Delivery takes Stead’s silly adventure story and puts Cordell’s colorful and quirky illustrations with it to make one grand adventure. Although the story was a bit over the top, it all added up to a fun, crazy story about a young girl that had to get an elephant to her Great Aunt Josephine and the cast of “characters” (alligator, a train, bandits, ice cream truck, air plane, etc.) who help her get him there. I found Stead’s humor to be laugh-out-loud funny and Cordell’s illustrations to be a perfect companion (did they remind anyone else of Quentin Blake, one of my favorite illustrators ever?!).

  • Linda
    2019-02-17 16:42

    I loved the craziness of this book, glad to have read it just to read something lighter than a YA book I was currently reading. A little girl, Sadie, wants to do something nice for her grandmother, whom she says is lonely. She decides to send her an elephant, but encounters quite a few obstacles along the way. It would take too many stamps, the postman tells her, and too much fuel for the airplane when Sadie asks a pilot to fly her (and the elephant). Finally she does settle on a good idea for transportation, but I'll let you discover what the ending is like-fun surprises. Matthew Cordell's beautiful water color illustrations with black outlining are full of whimsy and silliness. It's a fun and imagined adventure!

  • Cynthia
    2019-01-23 20:34

    Sadie has an elephant she'd like to mail to her Great-Aunt Josephine. But when she finds out how may stamps are required, she imagines other means of delivery (including by train and alligator). When she finally delivers the elephant, readers discover another surprise about Aunt Josephine. Delightfully and colorfully illustrated by Matthew Cordell, this picture book is imaginative and playful - and readers will come to love Sadie for her determination, sense of adventure, and the way she keeps her promises. Note the book cover resembling a stamp, the outdoor post office, and emotions shown in elephant eyes. Under the dust jacket, the casing reveals another wonderful surprise from Matthew Cordell.

  • Jillian
    2019-02-01 15:42

    It's not often I finish a book and wonder what on earth just happened. In this case, I was halfway through the book and thought, "Wait...what's going on?" I was confused, confounded, and befuddled by this book. I don't think it knew where it was going - because after awhile, the elephant was discarded in favor of running away with bandits, and cream!The artwork is lovely, though - took me right back to reading Roald Dahl as a child, with Quentin Blake's whimsical illustrations. I think the illustration was by far the best part of the book, in fact!

  • Mary
    2019-02-11 21:42

    Undaunted by a myriad of obstacles, Sadie is determined to get an elephant delivered to her Great-Aunt Josephine. With laugh-out-loud visual humor, Jenny's escapades and deadpan responses to her misadventures make this a very funny picture book. The elephant's expressions are hilarious, but the robber monkeys may steal the show. An extra bit of humor is the use of the Inverted Jenny image on the cover; nice touch! Don't be surprised if young readers are chanting "Beans? Again?" and demanding hot chocolate.

  • Dolly
    2019-02-11 21:53

    This is a strange, but humorous tale about a thoughtful niece who wants to sent an elephant to her Great-Aunt Josephine. The narrative is fun to read aloud and the pen, ink, and watercolor illustrations are cartoonish and remind me of Quentin Blake's style. We really enjoyed reading this book together.

  • Sandy Brehl
    2019-01-19 20:40

    A rollicking romp based on an important, repeated goal- Aunt J. needs company and and elephant will do the trick. From that point on it's one wacky leg of the trip after another, including loads of animal assistance and oddities. A lively ironic twist at the end will delight, while keeping a promise will satisfy.

  • Jillian Heise
    2019-01-21 22:47

    Cute, fun, silly, charmingly illustrated, entertainingly told tale of a girl trying to mail an elephant to her Aunt because she "lives almost completely alone and could really use the company." Anxious to read with students and see if they laugh with this one.

  • April
    2019-01-28 16:46

    To me this is just what a picture book should be- quirky, interesting characters, fanciful, funny story (with adventure!) and fabulous illustrations!

  • JoAnna
    2019-02-13 22:53

    Three-line review: A girl sets out to deliver an elephant to her lonely great aunt and encounters a litany of obstacles and curious characters along the way. I, of course, love the idea of snail mail (even though this is elephant mail!) so it gets thumbs up in that regard. However, it fell a bit flat for me, and I think the fact the airplane they're flying in crashes due to the elephant's weight is a bit unnerving.

  • Earl
    2019-01-24 15:45

    Truly special. A girl is set on sending her aunt an elephant. I love the refrain of Aunt Josephine “who lives completely alone and can really use the company.” Sadie is such a great character- kind-hearted, determined, and willing to go with the flow.

  • Kelly
    2019-02-14 17:41

    This is the story of a little girl who wants to find a way to deliver an elephant to her grandmother. She tries many ways. It's an okay story.

  • Viviane Elbee
    2019-02-06 18:36

    This book is so fun. Love the art.Kids voted to give it 5 stars, and wanted a re-read.

  • Pam
    2019-02-05 21:28

    A young girl has an unusual way to show love for her aunt.

  • Vivian
    2019-02-11 21:36

    Use this with so many story time themes -- Elephants, Airplanes, Travel, Transportation, and Mail!

  • Clarissa
    2019-02-06 22:38

    An adorable book! Sadie wants to send an elephant to her Great Aunt Josephine. This book is charming.

  • The Brothers
    2019-02-11 23:41

    This is a very charming story of a young girl, Sadie, trying to get an elephant to her Great-Aunt Josephine "who lives almost completely alone and could really use the company." From the post office to airplanes to alligators along the river, Sadie is determine to get her packaged delivered.Great illustrations!

  • Tasha
    2019-01-26 23:51

    Sadie knows that you can’t just put an elephant in the mailbox, instead you have to go to the post office. So she heads there to see how many stamps it will take to send the elephant to her Great-Aunt Josephine who lives alone and could use the company. It takes far too many stamps and too much money to mail the elephant, so Sadie looks for another solution and decides to fly. But elephants are heavy and the plane sputters out and crashes before they reach their destination. Sadie asks a nearby alligator to guide them down the river and then jumps aboard a train where a group of monkey bandits armed with bananas try to rob them. Sadie and elephant join them and have a great time until they tire of eating beans for every meal. Finally, they board an ice cream truck after purchasing ice cream sandwiches for the bandits and arrive at Great-Aunt Josephine’s. However, she may not be as lonely as Sadie thought!Stead has written a rich imaginative tale that takes readers on a wild journey. Sadie is undaunted by adversity, simply figuring out what to do next to get them closer to their destination. The entire book is unhindered by logic like pilot licenses and the thought of mailing an elephant. Instead the world in this picture book is filled with an off-center zing that means each of Sadie’s original ideas are embraced by everyone. It’s a refreshing and fun approach to the story.Cordell’s illustrations are wonderfully scribbly and loose. They capture the wild spirit of the book, the silliness and the move from one awesome idea to the next. I particularly enjoyed the illustrations of the post office and the great-aunt’s home. Both are simply people standing underneath trees that are shedding their leaves. This cheery openness and connection to nature immediately will have every reader knowing that this is an unconventional book. A terrific picture book that offers up a cheery, silly and fun-filled journey with an elephant as a companion. Appropriate for ages 4-6.

  • Venus
    2019-02-17 23:27

    Review originally posted on Children's AtheneumSadie needs to deliver an elephant to her Great-Aunt Josephine, who lives completely alone and could use some company. Turns out, mailing an elephant would require an entire cart full of stamps and so they begin their quest to get the elephant to her Great-Aunt by all manner of transportation, be it airplane, train, or alligator. I am completely going to spoil the ending here, because I feel it is important. Great-Aunt Josephine is not alone. She is surrounded by dozens of exotic animals that I can only guess Sadie has been sending to her. It is this twist that made the entire story endearing, because it showed the love that Sadie has for her Great-Aunt and her desire to see her happy and surrounded by the things she loves. This alone is a great message because kids inherently think that the world revolves around them. In a way, in their small limited understanding, it kind of does. Which is why I liked the idea of a kid so diligently thinking about someone else. The journey is important too though, and I absolutely loved the ways in which Sadie tries to get her elephant delivered. The accompanying illustrations demand more than a quick look-see as there is often a lot going on in them beyond what is just in the text. I absolutely love when illustrations give us even more story beyond what is just written on the page and Cordell does it so well.

  • Margie
    2019-01-25 19:32

    When my father was serving in the United States Army during World War II he was stationed on several remote spots in the Aleutian Islands. My mom, queen of holiday cheer, wanted to send him a package at Christmas reminding him of the Michigan outdoors he loved so well. It was securely wrapped in brown paper and she placed sturdy red ribbon around it. As a finishing touch she added several small pine branches tied within the bow. My dad was teased by the men in his unit for weeks about getting a box with two sticks tied in the ribbon. A lengthy journey left a trail of pine needles across the miles.Getting a letter or package, expected or unexpected, in the mail always holds a bit of wonderful in it. When you add decorations on the outside or colorful commemorative stamps, it sends an extra message. (Placing the Batman stamps on my bills, makes me hope the opener's spirits will soar.) Special Delivery (A Neal Porter Book, Roaring Brook Press, March 3, 2015) written by Philip C. Stead with illustrations by Matthew Cordell is about a girl with a goal willing to do whatever it takes to succeed. My full recommendation:

  • Aylea
    2019-01-22 15:34

    This review originally found at The Children's Book and Media ReviewAs everyone should know, you can’t just drop an elephant in the mailbox—you have to go to the post office. Sadie is determined to mail an elephant to her Great-Aunt Josephine who Sadie feels is lonely and “could really use the company”. It takes a lot of stamps to send something so fragile in the mail so Sadie decides to find another way. It takes borrowing an airplane, being guided by an alligator, riding a train, and spending some time with bandits, but Sadie is able to achieve her goal in the end.Special Delivery is silly and sweet. Sadie’s determination to get an elephant to her aunt shows persistence and her love for her potentially lonely family member. Adults can talk to children about looking out for others and keeping promises that they have made. The illustrations by Cordell have a feeling similar to Quinten Blake’s, but still has plenty of individual personality. The illustrations add detail to the story and occasionally provide all of the action without using narrative. Readers young and old can giggle together about Sadie’s adventures.

  • Melanie
    2019-02-03 20:42

    Sadie is worried that her Great-Aunt Josephine is lonely. So she is trying to deliver an elephant. But he needs too many stamps to mail at the post office and they would need too much gas to fly in a plane. Sadie takes off in the plane anyway and predictably crashes into a river. In the river she meets Alligator and asks if he'll take them across the river. He does and Sadie and the elephant are able to catch a train full of monkeys eating beans. And more beans. And just when Sadie can't eat any more beans the train crosses the path of an ice cream truck. The ice cream truck takes them the rest of the way to Aunt Josephines's house where Sadie's Aunt is anything but lonely. In fact she is surrounded by exotic animals presumably gifted by Sadie.It's a cute story and will work really well in a storytime. The elephant illustration frustrates me. Cordell uses messy lines as shading and all it accomplishes is making the elephant look like he's been drawn on. When I look back at Cordell's other works I am reminded that in general, I don't like his illustrations as they always make me pause and wonder if a child drew in a book.

  • Jennifer Strong
    2019-02-06 22:31

    Sadie wants to mail an elephant to her lonely Great-Aunt Josephine, but it requires too many stamps. She decides to borrow an airplane and fly the elephant to her, but she runs out of fuel halfway there. They float down a river (Sadie on top of an alligator) until they reach a train station. On the train they join up with some bandit monkeys but hop off when they see an ice cream truck. The truck tows the elephant the rest of the way to sadie's aunt...where the elephant fits right in with all the other zoo-type animals Sadie has sent.This book was such a disappointment. It was so dumb. I was so excited to read a story about stamps and the post office, but it was about a girl who wants to mail an elephant to her Aunt, because she "lives almost completely alone and could really use the company." (That line got super annoying very quickly.) I thought Sadie was kind of a brat. She expected everyone else to make her plan work. Sure, some could argue this book is about having a big imagination, but everything just felt so unrealistic.

  • Stephanie Croaning
    2019-01-28 15:37

    This is a sweet book about a young girl, an elephant, and her Great-Aunt Josephine. Sadie is concerned that her Great-Aunt Josephine lives all alone, so she wants to mail her an elephant to keep her company. It turns out it would be very expensive to mail an elephant, so Sadie resourcefully finds other ways to accomplish the task. There is a wonderful surprise at the end when Sadie gets to Great-Aunt Josephine.I love the caring nature of Sadie, and the love she has for an older relative. She also cares about the animals that she encounters. I also delight in the fact that no one blinks an eye about Sadie wanting to mail an elephant...that happens all the time, right?!This would make a fun read-aloud.