Calico Dorsey by Susan Lendroth is based on the true story of a stray dog adopted and trained by Everett and Alwin Stacy to carry mail between the mining towns of Calico and Bismark, California during the silver rush in 1885. Calico Dorsey actually carried the mail between the towns for nearly three years. In a world of instant information transfer, my son has a hard time imagining what it must have been like to wait for mail that only came once a week and wanted to know if we could train our dog to deliver the mail too. The Author’s note includes additional information about the historical origins of the story and a picture of the real Calico Dorsey. The town of Calico is now a State Historical Landmark which was restored by Walter Knott (Knott’s Berry Farm) in the 1950s to look as it did in the 1800s. At the height of the boom, the Calico region had close to 500 mines and produced nearly $86 million in silver. While the boom may be over, kids can still see the conditions in which miners worked, ride an old mining cart, and pan for gold. Calico Dorsey is a great start for igniting their imaginations and reliving a piece of history.
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