Good-Bye, Curtis

Good-Bye, Curtis

by Kevin Henkes, Marisabina Russo

Curtis has been delivering mail for forty-two years. Today is his last day. And all the mailboxes along his route are filled with surprises.

There is a drawing from Debbie, Dennis, and Donny. There is a bottle of aftershave from the Johnsons. There is a small, fat book from Mr. Porter.

But the real surprise is at the very last house on the very last street. There

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Curtis has been delivering mail for forty-two years. Today is his last day. And all the mailboxes along his route are filled with surprises.

There is a drawing from Debbie, Dennis, and Donny. There is a bottle of aftershave from the Johnsons. There is a small, fat book from Mr. Porter.

But the real surprise is at the very last house on the very last street. There is no doubt that everyone loves Curtis!

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Victoria Crenson
Curtis is retiring after forty-two years as a letter carrier. Over the years he has seen a lot of changes. "Trees have grown from little to big. Houses have been torn down. And houses have gone up. People have moved out. And people have moved in." But throughout Curtis has carried out his work of delivering the mail cheerfully everyday. This is a man who cares about his work and the people he serves. His last day on the job the neighborhood has a party to show their appreciation. "'We love you, Curtis,' they all say. 'We'll miss you.'" Henkes reminds us that a job well done and from the heart is its own reward. Russo's portrait of a smiling Curtis surrounded by stamps and postmarks is priceless.
School Library Journal
PreS-KAn unexciting premisethe mailman's last day before retirementis the basis of this cheerful story and lively illustrations. On his last round, Curtis, beloved by all of his patrons, from babies to grandparents, finds little gifts in their mailboxes and is greeted by an affectionate throng at the very last house, where a party is being given in his honor. In his 42 years of carrying letters, the man has seen many changes in the neighborhood, which become the most interesting part of the story. The text is simple, pleasantly repetitive, rhythmic, and reads aloud well. The gouache pictures, done in pure, bright colors, are flat, cartoonlike, humorous, and winning, as they show the variety of residents, pets, dwellings, and businesses of Curtis's postal domain.Patricia Pearl Dole, formerly at First Presbyterian School, Martinsville, VA
Carolyn Phelan
After 42 years delivering the mail to neighborhood shops and houses, Curtis is retiring. This agreeable picture book follows the beloved mailman's route on his last day, when young and old give him hugs and handshakes, little presents and best wishes. At the last house, Curtis' family and friends surprise him with a party in his honor. The next day he writes thank-you notes . . . "and he knows all the addresses by heart." Henkes' simple text sets a tone that's just right for preschoolers: straightforward and affectionate without a hint of sentimentality. In the same spirit, Russo's paintings illuminate the story through small details and gestures painted in a simplified style. One interesting spread depicts the changes that Curtis has seen in his neighborhood over the years. Teachers looking for picture books about "community helpers" will find this a good choice for reading aloud.

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Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Edition description:
1 ED
Product dimensions:
8.00(w) x 9.87(h) x 0.25(d)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Kevin Henkes is the author and illustrator of close to fifty critically acclaimed and award-winning picture books, beginning readers, and novels. He received the Caldecott Medal for Kitten's First Full Moon in 2005. Kevin Henkes is also the creator of a number of picture books featuring his mouse characters, including the #1 New York Times bestsellers Lilly's Big Day and Wemberly Worried, the Caldecott Honor Book Owen, and the beloved Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse. His most recent mouse character, Penny, was introduced in Penny and Her Song (2012); her story continued in Penny and Her Doll and Penny and Her Marble (a Geisel Honor Book). Bruce Handy, in a New York Times Book Review piece about A Good Day, wrote, "It should be said: Kevin Henkes is a genius." Kevin Henkes received two Newbery Honors for novels—one for his newest novel for young readers, The Year of Billy Miller, and the other for Olive's Ocean. Also among his fiction for older readers are the novels Junonia, Bird Lake Moon, The Birthday Room, and Sun & Spoon. He lives with his family in Madison, Wisconsin.

From the time I could hold a pencil, I loved to draw. My mother was a single parent who worked full time, and my brothers were much older than I was. It seemed like I spent a lot of time alone. Drawing and, later, writing kept me company.

I was very shy. My mother was always introducing me to little girls who lived in our apartment building in Queens, New York. I became good friends with one girl named Roberta, whose mother was an artist. When they moved to a house a few blocks away, Roberta's mother set up a studio in the attic and gave art lessons. I went with them to sketch in the park. We took the subway into Manhattan to visit museums. I knew I wanted to be an artist.

In the sixth grade I read The Diary of Anne Frank and decided to keep a journal. I keep one to this day. In the seventh grade I started writing short stories. I had a wonderful English teacher, Miss Rothenberg, who encouraged me to write. My first published story appeared in the junior high school literary magazine.

While I dreamed of going to art school, my mother steered me to a liberal arts college, Mount Holyoke. Being a studio art major there was a bit outside the mainstream and, later, having a Mount Holyoke degree didn't open any doors when I began searching for work as an illustrator. But I did get a tremendous education, which serves me well every day of my life.

My early illustration jobs were for magazines, eventually for The New Yorker. I got my first book illustrating job (a cookbook) when I was pregnant with my first child. Other books followed, and two more children. It was only after my third baby was born that an illustrator friend arranged for me to meet Susan Hirschman at Greenwillow. He had to really push me to make the appointment because I was pretty much consumed with motherhood (and exhausted!) The Line Up Book was my first picture book. My son Sam was obsessed with lining up objects all over our house, and that had been my inspiration.

The stories I write usually happen that way. My children say or do something that sticks in my mind. Or I remember something from my own childhood. I mull it over and over and expand it and come up with a story. The initial idea is usually the easy part, but giving it shape, rhythm, and a climax is much more difficult. Painting the pictures is the most fun of all.

There is no other job I would want. Every day when I sit down to work in my studio—which is a bedroom in my house—I feel very lucky and very happy.

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Brief Biography

Madison, Wisconsin
Date of Birth:
November 27, 1960
Place of Birth:
Racine, Wisconsin
University of Wisconsin, Madison

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