Owney, the famous dog who rode mail trains.
One rainy night in 1888, a stray dog wandered into the U.S. Post Office in Albany, New York. Workers found him the next morning asleep on a pile of mail pouches. The dog seemed to like the post office. He liked the smell of the mailbags and the men’s wool uniforms. When no one came to claim the dog, they named him Owney and made him their pet. But Owney did not want to be a pet. He wanted adventure. He started hopping on the mail trains. Over the course of nine years, Owney the dog guarded the mail―not only in Albany but on mail trains that traveled all over the United States. Owney became one of the most famous dogs in the world.
Accompanied by lively pen-and-watercolor illustrations by Lynne Barasch, this is a delightful true story of a special dog whose faithful service earned him a trip around the world. Owney the dog can be seen in the Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum.
- California Young Readers Award, 2010
- Vermont Red Clover Award, 2010
- Parents’ Choice Silver Honor Award, 2008
- Bank Street College, Best Children’s Books of the Year List, 100th Anniversary Edition, 2009
- H.W. Wilson Web’s Core Collection “A Most Highly Recommended Title”
- Kansas State Reading Circle Recommended Primary Titles, 2009
- Missouri Show Me Reader Award Nominee, 2010-2011
- Pennsylvania Keystone to Reading Book Award Master List, 2009-10
- Pennsylvania Young Reader’s Choice Awards Program Nominee, 2009-10
- South Carolina Book Award Nominee, 2010-2011
- Tennessee Volunteer State Book Award Nominee, 2010-2011
“Barasch’s watercolors bring this historical dog to endearing life.” ―Miami Herald
“Readers will be captivated by Owney’s journey from hungry and homeless to beloved guardian of the mail trains… sure to develop a loyal following among lovers of dog stories.” ―Starred, School Library Journal
“Ever alert and increasingly covered in tags attached at his many stopovers, this small dog makes an engaging centerpiece.” ―Kirkus Reviews
“Kudos to Kerby who…did plenty of research for this kid-friendly history. . . . The Ink-and-watercolor paintings, ranging from two-page spreads to vignettes, are varied and interesting.” ―Booklist
“Watercolor-and-ink sketches warmly illustrate the mixed-breed terrier and showcase the varied architectural styles that housed post offices around the country.” ―Horn Book
“This is a versatile little doggy number: it could also serve as a readaloud . . . or it could serve as an offbeat springboard to explorations of travel or even the postal system.” ―Bulletin for the Center of Children’s Books
Listen to Mona read from Owney, the Mail-Pouch Pooch.
- Color Owney and attach some trinkets to his collar that represent where you live.
- Draw a trinket for Owney that he would like to wear.
- Design a stamp for Owney or one that represents where you live.
- At an office supply, buy some luggage tags and design a tag for Owney.
- Share some Owney Fan Club Cards.
- Act out an Owney play.
- Use a Project Organizer for writing a friendly letter.
- Complete a fun Owney worksheet, a crossword puzzle, or a word search.
- Study Owney’s tags at the Smithsonian National Postal Museum.
- View the Postal Museum video The Story of Owney: Mascot of the Mail Railway Service.
- See some Owney articles from the historical newspapers.
- Discover the places that Owney visited.
- Plot Owney’s routes: a U.S. train map, a U.S. map, and a world map.
- Practice learning the U.S. states.
- Take a trip with your family to see Owney’s display at the Smithsonian Museum in Washington D.C.
Buy a toy Owney dog from the Postal Museum.