book review

Owney The Mail Pouch Pooch

Owney, the Mail-Pouch Pooch

The book Owney the Mail Pouch Pooch is a tale of luck and adventure, as well as a celebration of the history of the US Post Office.  But at its heart, it is a dog story, for dog lovers, by dog lovers.

The dedications at the beginning of the book are to the beloved canines of the author and illustrator, which set the tone for the book, that covers an interesting historical time through the lens of a dog, Owney, who found himself working for the US Post office from 1888 to 1897.

The story, written by Mona Kerby, begins with the dog finding shelter in the Albany, NY post office, winning the hearts of the men who worked there, who in turn gained the loyalty of the dog for the US Postal employees and the US mail.

The story has the dog traveling by train to the various post offices of the country in his self-appointed task of looking after the US mail.  He quickly gains notoriety around the country as the mail dog and receives medallions from the post offices he visits, and every time he returns to the Albany office they can, by means of the medallions, trace his journeys.

He travels across the country and even around the world as the story unfolds.

The illustrations by Lynne Barasch depict late 19th century USA with a carefree and cheerful style that in keeping with the historical but lighthearted feel of the story.Image result for illustrations by Lynne Barasch owney the mail pouch pooch

The last illustration before the appendix is not an illustration at all but a photograph of the dog Owney on board one of the trains with the post office employees in the foreground.  This brought the history to life as it became apparent that this was a true story about a real dog.

On Saturday, September 15th 2012 the Danbury Railways Museum honored Owney, the dog who became the mascot of the United States Postal Service in the late 19th century. Back then mail was primarily carried across the nation by rail.

The last two pages talk about the process of researching for the story with a little more in depth historical detail of this famous dog.  I found it to be an excellent read and the children to whom I read it, my girls of 8, 6 and 4 agreed.  We spent some time afterwards discussing the story and decided that the next time we were in Washington, DC we should stop by the Post Office museum to see Owney, persevered by taxidermy as well as his bronze statue out front.

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-Mr. Karl Cooper, Jr.

 

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Tasha Tudor’s Garden

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Tasha Tudor’s Garden written by Tovah Martin, lavishly photographed by Richard W. Brown and featuring Tasha Tudor’s famous watercolors, is one beautiful book. The book is astonishing, you’ll feel transported to Tasha Tudor’s home and her garden.

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But what I found most endearing was it’s practical tone, for it’s more than a tour to dazzle the senses and leave you feeling an inadequate gardener indeed, it’s instructive. What’s her secret to those towering foxgloves?

Bernideen's Tea Time Blog: "OPEN HOUSE": Wintertime Means A Stack Of Garden Books

 Simple, manure tea.

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 This intimate and yet practical book will make you feel as if you have discovered the secret garden itself – but is that any surprise?

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-Mrs. Karl T. Cooper Jr.

Instant Library Pastel Book Bundle

 

Here is my first attempt at selling books by color. I feel conflicted with this marketing approach. On one hand the booklover in me cringes and on the other hand, the interior designer in me smiles at the soft pastel palette with just a dash of geometric flare. At any rate, this book bundle is up for sale, and is available here. Don’t worry I added the titles in the description!

Art Study Rubens: St. George and the Dragon

 

We Use Time Life Library of Art Books for our Art Studies:

These books are perfect for picture study, I love using them! Each term we study a new artist and I bring out a new art book for our studies. It’s nice to bring the books out one at a time, instead of having them always available, the change seems to spark more interest in the term’s artist. I only have one left at my etsy shop but they are also available on amazon

 

Field Guides for Nature Study

 

How and Why Wonder Books are really wonderful reference books.  We find ourselves coming home from a nature walk and rereading this one, just to be sure that what we saw was in fact an American Copper Butterfly.

A Golden Nature Guide of Insects is another favorite of ours. It’s much smaller than the how and why wonder book of Insects and easily fits in a pocket or purse. It also has full color pictures making it easy to ID insects.

What do you use on nature walks?

Motherhood: Books That Have Helped Me Along the Way.

 

The Birth Order Book

The Birth Order Book

The Birth Order Book is easy to read, it has helped me better understand myself and my children. It has also helped me see the difference between striving for excellence and perfectionism. The later can be a stumble block to bettering oneself.

The temperament God Gave your Kids

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Another quick and easy read! This book helped me understand how to motivate my children and discipline them according to their different temperaments. I liked how practical it was! I could apply what I learned right away.

Kon Marie’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

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We’ve written several book reviews on Kon Marie’s books already but I had to put it on this list because it has helped me create a more peaceful home without spending a dime on organizational tools or home decor, and when your home is more peaceful, so are you, and so are your children!

Little House on The Prairie Books

Vintage Little House Children's Books Complete Series 9 Book Boxed Set (Paperback) 1971 & 1970s (Little House In The Big Woods; Little House on the Prairie; On The Banks of Plum Creek; The First Four Years; Farmer Boy; The Happy Golden Years; Little Town on the Prairie; The Long Winter; By The Shores of Silver Lake)

The Little House on The Prairie Books have been so wonderful to read with my children. They reaffirm the importance of hierarchy, authority, and obedience  within the family- a truth which has become politically incorrect these days. They are also a fascinating account of frontier life.

 

What Books have helped you? I’d love to hear!

 

Quick Bedtime Stories For Toddlers

Here are some books I turn to when bedtime is running late. I enjoy reading them and they are always well received.

Pat the Bunny

Pat the bunny is such a classic. One that I did not grow up with and was happy to discover with my first toddler. It’s an Interactive book that maintains a certain simplicity and elegance. Children love it and it’s fun to read. My favorite page is the little book within a book.

Time For Bed

A sweet rhyming goodnight story. Peaceful and soporific. Jane Dyer’s illustrations are beautiful.

 

Little Donkey Close your eyes

Another rhyming goodnight story, this one is by the beloved Margaret Wise Brown. It is similar to Time for Bed in it’s lulling verse and tender illustrations. A cozy read.

Each Peach Pear Plum

Here’s another interactive book, it’s an eye spy in verse. The rhyming makes it easy to read out loud and children love finding the different fairy tale characters on each page.

Fierce Bad Rabbit

Beatrix Potter’s Fierce Bad Rabbit a concise cautionary tale of a very naughty rabbit a bedtime story for when brevity is key.

-Mrs. Karl T. Cooper, Jr.

Books Babies Love

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Lullabies (with pictures from the Metropolitan Museum of Art)

Many mother and baby pictures, that little ones identify with easily, from various parts of the world are included. It’s also fun to “find” people from our extended family in the paintings.

The World of the Polar Bear (nature photography related to their interests)

This is a great one, if your toddler likes polar bears. Lots of amazing shots of mothers and cubs. Not limited to bears either; meet muskoxen, seals, walruses, belugas, and arctic foxes.

Corduroy and Goodnight Moon

These classic picture books never get old. Not even after ten consecutive repetitions 😉

A is for Altar, B is for Bible

Build a basic religious and liturgical vocabulary and begin (or enrich) the most important conversation you and your child can have. This Montessori-inspired alphabet book is a beautiful aid to handing on the faith, communicating the love of Jesus, and bringing even the youngest children into dialogue with the Word of God. (Catholic or High Church Anglican specific.)

Write Your Own Book! (or “Wreck This Journal”)

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In our blank book, we draw and name basic shapes, illustrate favorite nouns, explore with crayons and colored pencils, paste stickers, favorite greeting cards, and pictures, and practice fine motor skills with colored tape. Give your toddler freedom to scribble, rip, and experiment to his heart’s content but don’t be surprised if you like some of the pages so much that it becomes difficult to do that!

-Mrs. Aldertree

What’s On Your Nightstand?

Fast Food Nation  by Eric Schlosser is an amazing read. While I don’t agree with many of his solutions, the terrible and largely unforeseen consequences of Fast Food and Big agriculture are brought to light (and it’s not just about health concerns). Like it or not, the fast food industry has changed the way we farm, eat, advertise and shop. Throughout the book Scholosser seems to be pushing for unions and more government regulations to solve these problems  but in the end it’s about getting people to opt out on a large scale.  It’s informative, gripping, disturbing and yet he also maintains a sense of humor- Investigative journalism at it’s best.

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The Lost Traveller by Antonia White.

I’ve read her first book Frost in May last year and found her storytelling simple and completely engrossing. The second book, The Lost Traveller, is just as engaging and accessible as the first, the characters absorbing and writing clear. I am waiting for the heartbreak though. You sense a tragic tone from the onset.

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I’m also reading (thoroughly skimming?) Nourishing Traditions, rereading Woods Etc., avoiding journaling and in denial about my lack of interest in Theodore Roethke’s  poetry, despite my love for his poem the Root Cellar.

My husband’s nightstand, however, remains focused and avoids such disillusionments:

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What’s on your nightstand this month?