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By: Craig McFarland Brown
Publisher: Charlesbridge Publishing; New edition
Publication Date: July 2009
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: November 2009
Anthony is a different kind of postman. He doesn’t walk a mail route, he doesn’t work behind a counter nor does he drive a truck. He doesn’t wear the Postal Service regulation uniform, but rather “wears a cowboy hat, chaps, and spurs.” The mail for his route is delivered to him in bulk and when it arrives he prepares it for his mule train at the “south rim of the Grand Canyon.” Anthony, one of the most unusual mail carriers in the United States, delivers anything and everything that can be packed onto the back of a mule. During the busy holiday season the mules have delivered “everything from pumpkins to Christmas trees.” “Hi-ya!” It’s time to make a few deliveries.
A desert bird can be seen sitting on a leafless branch watching the mule train as it begins its one mile descent to the bottom of the canyon floor. The route quickly becomes precarious as the trail “zigzags along sharp switchblades.” The area is teeming with desert life in the plateaus. The narrow trail is not for the faint of heart as Anthony, his dog and mule team need to navigate past hikers and through all kinds of treacherous weather conditions. When they reach the bottom, he “lets the mules take a quick drink from the crystal-clear water” of Havasu Creek. They soon reach their destination, the village of Supai, where everyone is waiting for their mail!
This amazing story certainly gives new meaning to the phrase, “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.” I enjoyed going along with Anthony and his mule team as they made their way down the canyon. The book doesn’t go into great detail about how much a mule can carry or things such as the population of Supai, but this leaves a lot of room for a young student to work on a report. The artwork was simple, but very appealing and I liked how all of a sudden I had to rotate the book when the trail became steeper.
Quill says: This is a surprising look at just how far some people have to go to deliver the mail!