Owney the Mail-Pouch Pooch by Mona Kerby is based on the true story of a remarkable terrier mix who became famous in the 1890’s. He was adopted by Albany, New York postal workers, and guarded the mail, only letting the men in blue uniforms near. One day he hopped on a train carrying mail across the country. The Albany men were sad, but a few months later Owney returned. He wanted to ride the train again! This time the railway postmen attached tags to Owney’s collar to show where he’d been. Soon he had so many, he had to wear a harness instead to hold them all! Owney traveled the world, guarding the mail on a steamship headed to Asia. This book is very well researched (the author even thanks a few Maryland librarians for helping get the facts straight) and features cute illustrations by Lynne Barasch.
John, Paul, George & Ben by Lane Smith tells the story of what some of our founding fathers were like before the birth of our nation, taking us back to when John Hancock, Paul Revere, George Washington, Ben Franklin, and Tom Jefferson were boys. John was quite bold, taking up the whole chalk board to write his name. Paul was always shouting since he suffered some hearing loss in a bell ringing club (that was “before fun was invented”). George was honest to a fault–when dad forgave him for chopping down the cherry tree, he readily confessed to leveling the whole orchard and a barn! Ben was very clever, constantly coming up with sayings, and Tom was independent (he probably refused to be included in the title). Read this as a fun way to teach your child about people who helped make our country free.
A Mama for Owen, written by Marion Dane Bauer, is a charming story of a baby hippopotamus named Owen who loses his mother during a storm and is adopted by a 130 year old tortoise. It’s based on a true story! After a tsunami, in 2004, a baby hippo was rescued by Kenyan fishermen and taken to the Haller Park wildlife preserve. Upon his arrival, the hippo began following around an ancient male tortoise named Mzee, and Mzee didn’t seem to mind at all! This strange pair became best friends, subsequently garnering a lot of media attention. To this day tourists come from across the globe to witness the unique relationship between these mis-matched animals. A Mama for Owen features adorable illustrations by John Butler and is a truly heartwarming story for children 1-5.