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*Calico Dorsey* by Susan Lendroth, illustrated by Adam Gustavson
Also by Susan Lendroth:

Maneki Neko: The Tale of the Beckoning Cat

Also illustrated by Adam Gustavson:

The Mystery of the Jubilee Emerald
Calico Dorsey
by Susan Lendroth, illustrated by Adam Gustavson
Grades 2-5 32 pages Tricycle Press September 2010 Hardcover    

Based on a true story, this is a fictionalized account of a dog who served as a mail dog between a silver mine and the small town of Calico, California, in the late 1800s. Certain to attract dog lovers as well as readers interested in history, the story begins when Calico’s postmaster, Al Stacy, befriends a stray border collie, names him Dorsey, and decides to keep him as a pet. The affable dog immediately makes friends with the miners and his owner’s niece, Nellie.

When they move to open a general store near a new mine, Dorsey and Al often return to Calico to deliver the mail. One very hot day, Al decides to skip the trip to Calico, and Dorsey disappears. It turns out, he has gone to visit his friends in Calico all on his own. Nellie thinks of a plan for Dorsey to deliver a message back to Al. Over the next few weeks, the dog exchanges many different types of deliveries until he officially becomes a mail dog for several months.

Gustavson’s artwork brings Dorsey’s story alive immediately with an eye-catching cover sure to capture almost any young reader’s attention. The layout follows a pattern of one full-page illustration opposite a page of text highlighted by smaller illustrations. Just over the borders of picture framework, slight extensions of the illustrations lend a playful element to the images as paws, a tail and heads peak just over the edges. The illustrator captures the heart of a friendly dog’s personality with realistic moments like Nellie rubbing Dorsey’s tummy, the dog running with his tongue sticking out and ears flying in the wind, and happily greeting his friends.

An author’s note including a historical photograph completes the book, explaining what is really known about Dorsey, the mail pouch dog. Pair this book with Mona Kerby’s Owney, Mail Pouch Pooch for a similar story of man’s best friend.

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  Kristine Wildner/2011 for curled up with a good kid's book  

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