A Small Dog’s Big Life; Around the World with Owney, tells the true story of an unusual dog who captured the public’s imagination in the late 1800’s. Owney was a stray who wandered into an Albany New York post office and became an unlikely world traveler. Riding on mailbags, he crisscrossed the country on postal trains before eventually sailing all the way around the globe. Owney and his adventures were avidly followed by newspaper readers around the U.S., and he became known as the ‘Greatest Dog Traveler in the World’.
Piecing together the facts of Owney’s exciting life, Irene Kelly has written letters, telegrams, and newspaper accounts that tell a colorful story about a captivating nineteenth-century celebrity.
Finalist, DWAA Best Children's Book award, 2005
“…Using a liberal variety of fonts and writing styles alongside her bright, mixed-media drawings, she (Kelly) develops a kaleidoscopic story of Owney’s adventure, imagining the heroic mutt sightseeing and visiting landmarks such as the Statue of Liberty in New York and the Pyramids in Egypt. The unorthodox format is well suited to spark interest in other imaginative journeys and to reading and writing about other parts of the world both in and out of the classroom.” - Kirkus Reviews, June 2005
"…Kelly’s mostly watercolor illustrations have a bright, liquid facility, and they communicate a lilting tone to the collection of actual texts that tell the dog’s story.” The Star Ledger, June 17, 2005
“Kelly peppers the text with lively illustrations and actual letters from other post offices, attesting to the resilient dog’s jaunts through the United States, Mexico, Canada, Egypt and stowaway cruises to Japan and China on his global trot…There’s a statue of the famous dog at the Smithsonian, but until you get there, take yourself and your kids on a thoroughly delightful ride with Owney. There’s no charge for the travel, only the book.” The Star Ledger, July 10, 2005
‘The lively pictures evoke both the daring adventure and the warm story about those who loved the mutt with strong, spindly leas and ‘a straggly, but waggly, tail.’ “ - Booklist, July 2005