The Mailbox in the Forest
The Mailbox in the Forest

The Mailbox in the Forest

Illustrated by Kazue Takahashi, By Kyoko Hara


Forest Friends


74 Pages, 6 x 7.75

Formats: Hardcover, ebook: PDF

Hardcover, $14.99 (US $14.99) (CA $19.99)

Publication Date: October 2021

ISBN 9781940842530

Price: $14.99


 Illustrated in the whimsical style that won Kazue Takahashi accolades for her Kuma-Kuma Chan books, The Mailbox in the Forest offers a delightful look into the everyday life of a Japanese girl—with a little magic added

While spending a vacation with her grandparents, Mayu, a Japanese first-grader, finds a mysterious mailbox in the forest near their house. She writes a letter and leaves it in the box. The next day she is surprised to find a letter addressed to her. She responds and a friendship develops between the two letter writers. But who could this mysterious friend be? Mayu discovers who he is, and discovers the joys of writing and receiving letters. And when the time comes to go back home, she and her forest friend find an unexpected way to exchange letters and to continue their friendship.


"Hara pens a sweet story of magically everyday life and an unexpected friendship. Appropriate to the focus on letter writing and format, each letter is placed on its own page, Mayu’s missives tidy and Konta’s full of misspellings and cross-outs. The illustrations switch between full color and black and white, adding playfulness and whimsy." —Kirkus STARRED Review

"Takahashi’s soft watercolors, appearing in both grayscale and color illustrations, are warm and inviting — and add a wondrous tone to the whole book. It’s full-on charming to enter the forest with Mayu and approach the mailbox." —Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast

 "Happening upon a #&39;mailbocks#&39; (it’s labeled) in a tree, the first grader forges an epistolary friendship with an earnest fox. Mayu easily accepts the concept of a letter-writing fox in this Japanese charmer." —Laura Simeon and Vicky Smith, young readers’ editors of Kirkus Reviews magazine

"The lengthy story allows luxurious development and mystery as Mayu and readers wait to meet the letters’ enigmatic author." —Publishers Weekly

"A joyous celebration of letter-writing and friendship form the basis of this Japanese tale of a girl who corresponds with a mysterious friend through a mailbox she finds in the forest." —Jen Forbus, Shelf Awareness

"Occasional culturally specific Japanese references, such as making a teru teru bozu doll to discourage rain, are perfect for early-chapter-book readers, whose horizons are expanding." —Sarah Ellis, The Horn Book Magazine

"The book does a delightful job of invoking the smells and sense of autumn. While exploring, the girl finds a little mailbox and strikes up a correspondence with whoever made it. But who is the mysterious letter writer? . . . A charmer."—Elizabeth Bird, A Fuse #8

Author Biography

Kazue Takahashi made her debut as a picture-book author with acclaimed Kuma-Kuma Chan, The Little Bear in 2001. Her picture books include Risu denwa (The Squirrel Telephone System) and Ne, ohanashi kikasete (Read Me a Story, with Kyoko Hara). Takahashi’s illustrations embody kawaii—the quality of being cute and adorable, which is prominent in Japanese popular culture. Kyoko Hara was born in Tokyo and graduated from Wako University with a degree in art. In 1978 she won the Kodansha Children’s Literature Prize in the KFS Contest. Among her many titles are Haru ni aeta yo (We Met Spring) and Kuma no Bear to chiisana Tatan (Kuma the Bear and Tiny Tatan) series. When she was a child, she wanted to become a fashion designer and did not like writing at all.