Reviews for Calico Dorsey : Mail Dog of the Mining Camps

Booklist Reviews 2010 October #2
In the town of Calico, California, in 1885, two brothers, Al and Stacy, take in a stray Border collie and name him Dorsey. Stacy runs the post office, and after Al sets up a store in the silver-mining camps in nearby Bismarck, the men train Dorsey to carry the mail for the area. Based on a true story, this title, illustrated in realistic, appealing oil paintings and spare, well-paced prose, conveys a sense of the Old West--not the rush for riches but the open trail and the warm details of daily activity. In one picture, for example, the collie gives a miner's face "an extra lick clean during Saturday night baths in the barbershop tub." In the story's climax, the miners welcome the canine mail carrier, whooping for joy when he brings them letters from home. The animal adventure is at the center of the story, and children will eagerly follow Dorsey as he travels the trails alone, with mailbags buckled onto his furry back. Copyright 2010 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2011 Spring
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. Copyright 2011 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2010 August #2
Set in the silver-mining camps of California's Mojave Desert in 1885, this is the semi-factual story of Dorsey, a remarkable Border collie who carried the United States mail between Bismarck and Calico. Apparently, after following the mail burro between the towns the former stray knew the route; here, the postmaster's daughter Nellie acts as the initial motivation for the lonely dog to make the trek. Border collies are famous for their work ethic, and as a mail dog he conscientiously and expeditiously carried letters and small packages to the miners. Readers should enjoy—and be enlightened by—this delightful sidebar to California history. Gustavson's illustrations in oil convey topography, characters, settings and a fine canine. They are active and charming, and Dorsey leaps off the page, tail wagging, just waiting for pats, company and biscuits. One jarring note: All the miners and their clothing seem very clean considering their trade and the scarcity of water in the desert. An author's note provides a photo of Dorsey with his mail pouches and good historical information, including the fact that Nellie is fictional. (Picture book. 4-8)

Copyright Kirkus 2010 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

School Library Journal Reviews 2010 September

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

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