Mule Train Mail

Overview

"Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds."

While working on this book, Craig Brown traveled to the Grand Canyon to observe the only mule train delivery route in the United States. MULE TRAIN MAIL introduces readers to Anthony Paya, who wears a cowboy hat, chaps, and spurs, and leads a train of mules on a daily three-hour trek down into the Grand Canyon to bring mail to the townspeople of Supai.

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Overview

"Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds."

While working on this book, Craig Brown traveled to the Grand Canyon to observe the only mule train delivery route in the United States. MULE TRAIN MAIL introduces readers to Anthony Paya, who wears a cowboy hat, chaps, and spurs, and leads a train of mules on a daily three-hour trek down into the Grand Canyon to bring mail to the townspeople of Supai.

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Editorial Reviews

Julie Just
In dusty brown pastels, [Brown] draws a quietly fascinating picture of a rare way of life.
—The New York Times
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Brown takes us along with Anthony the Postman as he picks up mail on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon for the last regular mule train mail delivery in the United States. The mules carry groceries and water along with letters and packages, following the trail a mile down to the bottom of the canyon. As Anthony winds along the steep, narrow path, we must turn the book on its side to see how the illustrations show the long way down. Sometimes there is danger from rain or ice. At the bottom of Havasu Creek, the mules can have a drink before moving along to the village of Supai, where the villagers pick up their mail, and then they can go home. Front end pages offer a pictorial map of the Grand Canyon and trace the route. The back pages show the mule train. Brown uses pastels and colored pencils to recreate the various parts of the trail, with the cactus, snakes, and slippery narrow passages along with the village of Supai and its inhabitants. The reddish browns of the canyon walls are used to illuminate the scenes and emphasize the monumental canyon. There are added notes on the mule train and the canyon. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2—In this engaging text, Brown relates the daily trip made by Anthony the Postman from the top of the Grand Canyon to the village of Supai far below on the canyon floor. Wearing "a cowboy hat, chaps, and spurs," he leads a train of mules carrying "letters and packages, along with groceries, water, clothes, and even computers" down the steep trail through all types of weather conditions, for "the mail must go through." An author's note gives additional details that children will appreciate, including the fact that it takes three hours to make the eight-mile trip from the south rim to the village, located on the Havasupai Indian Reservation. He also describes the expedition he made with Anthony Paya, lead muleteer, to appreciate firsthand the journey and the rigors of the landscape. Brown's wonderful pastel and colored pencil illustrations are a testament to the time he spent on the trail. Readers will feel that they are experiencing the heat and dust as well as the beautiful flora and fauna of the region. Shifting perspectives (the book must be held vertically for trail scenes) add to the drama by providing a sense of the canyon's awesome size while close-ups of the mules highlight the animals' important role. A fascinating and informative addition.—Maura Bresnahan, High Plain Elementary School, Andover, MA
Kirkus Reviews
In some remote pockets of Arizona, the postman wears a cowboy hat and leads a mule train. The front endpaper illustration traces the mail route through the Grand Canyon. At the South Rim of the Canyon, boxes of mail are transferred from a Postal Service truck to the saddlepacks of Anthony the postman's six mules. He rides a horse and has an eager dog to help guide him along the zigzagging trail, full of sharp switchbacks. A succession of double-page spreads that need to be turned 90 degrees for proper viewing emphasizes the steep descent of the route. Deep mud, ice and flash floods make the trail treacherous, but never prevent Anthony from completing his route, which is narrated in a simple, concrete present tense. At length, the mule train reaches its destination, the village of Supai, tucked into a green valley, where Anthony unloads the mail and-because Supai is also Anthony's home-his family greets him. Brown's illustrations, in pastel and colored pencil, look appropriately sun-washed. Informative as well as evocative, and told with crisp clarity. (author's note) (Informational picture book. 5-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781580891882
  • Publisher: Charlesbridge Publishing, Inc.
  • Publication date: 7/28/2009
  • Pages: 36
  • Sales rank: 640,104
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.80 (w) x 8.80 (h) x 0.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Craig Brown was raised in a small farming community, and his art reflects his experiences growing up in the rural Midwest. Craig has illustrated many children's books, including THE TALKING BIRD AND THE STORY POUCH (Harper) and CITY SOUNDS (Greenwillow). He lives in Manitou Springs, Colorado.

Visit Craig online at www.craigbrownbooks.com.

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