homeschool

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.

Image result for owney the bronze statue

-Mr. Karl Cooper, Jr.

 

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Queen Anne’s Lace

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Each flower is a hand’s span of whiteness

Her body is not so white as
anemone petals nos so smooth-nor
so remote a thing. It is a field
of the wild carrot taking
the field by force; the grass
does not raise above it.
Here is no question of whiteness,
white as can be, with purple mole
at the center of each flower.
Each flower is a hand’s span
of her whiteness. Wherever
his hand has lain there is
a tiny purple blemish. Each part
is a blossom under his touch
to which the fibres of her being
stem one by one, each to it end
until the whole field is a
white desire, empty , a single stem,
a cluster, flower by flower,
a pious wish to whiteness gone over-
or nothing.

William Carlos Williams, 1883-1963

 

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?

Something To See

The Russian Icon Museum in Clinton

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Our Lady embraces her crucified Son, their cheeks touching as in the icon of loving kindness.  Christ in majesty appears against a red and blue background with bold lines that echo the contours of a tulip, angels swirl so speedily around Him that their faces become watery reflections.  Sts. Anne and Joachim embrace at the Golden Gate, in front of their marriage bed.  From their meeting at Jerusalem’s wall to the descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles, the mysteries of Christ’s life unfold, in a long wall of pictures, a sequence of scenes that recalls pre-regularization versions of the rosary.  Joined icon screens extend like accordions.  Rows and rows of saints fill pictorial calendars of the liturgical year.

A friend told me about the Russian Icon Museum in Clinton, Massachusetts years ago and now it’s my turn to recommend it.  If you are a Western Christian, you will breathe with your second lung.  You will enter many hushed mansions of the centuries since Christ.  Your soul will steep in the colors of the world to come.

And you may even see a unicorn!

-Mrs. Aldertree