Calico Dorsey

Mail Dog of the Mining Camps
32p. 978-1-58246-318-6.
Gr 2—5—Illuminating California's silver mining era, Lendroth creates a plausible story line. It is based on a possibility of actual events surrounding the Border collie that came to be an official U.S. Postal Service mail carrier, crossing the Mojave Desert between the town of Calico and the hills where the miners and prospectors worked. Perspectives on the dog's experiences are related by the Stacey brothers, who run the general store and post office; Nellie, the young daughter and niece; and Dorsey himself, which create excitement for young readers. In the author's notes, Lendroth writes that she uses the information she found during her research to create a story based on fact. Gustavson's paintings are intergrated into the text, flowing from page through the centerfold to page, making this obscure story larger than life. The vitality of the characters is enhanced by the artist's accurate, yet expressive details that add humor and sweetness to the faces of both the people and Dorsey.—Tina Hudak, St. Albans School, Washington, DC
Lendroth's text is based on the true story of Dorsey, a border collie that carried mail between two California mining towns in 1885. The tale focuses on Dorsey's daily mile-and-a-half trek and his rapport with the prospectors and a young girl named Nellie. Gustavson's oils effectively depict the rich hues and oppressive heat of the Mojave Desert setting. An author's note is appended.

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