The Legend of

Dynamite George

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The Legend of Dynamite George

The Mining Pack Rat


Story and Photographs

by Carroll Bennett

For Middle Readers, Teens, and Animal Lovers of all ages  

192 pages, with enchanting photographs

 6 " x 9", Soft Cover/Paperback


Book includes a Glossary of Mining Terms and diagrams that provide information about life underground and mining operations.


Usually shipped within 48 hours

ISBN #978-1-892225-21-4





Dynamite George Cvr


The Legend of Dynamite George

Can be read on an Amazon Kindle


$9.99 USD


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For another book by Carroll Bennett, take a look at

Kikko's Tracks

It is this photojournalist's view of the antics of a delightful Siamese cat.

Photos by Carroll Bennett

Fabulous cat pictures

USD $10.00


To personalize with a child's name, list the name in the "comments" section of the order form.

$15.00 + tax & shipping

Choose child's size below.

Pack Rat Adventures

Note Card

Note Card Package


5" x 7", Full Color, white stock


Blank Inside

with Plain Envelopes

Includes 10 cards with envelopes


$12.50 per package

finalist award

Carroll Bennett, Honored as "FINALIST IN FICTION" by National Indie Excellence Awards!

A Synopsis of a Western Folk Tale

Jamie and Windy, two young newcomers to a Wyoming mining town, befriend a frisky pack rat with the intriguing name of “Dynamite George.” He becomes the focus of their lives when his antics and stealthy behavior get him in trouble with the uranium miners, a group of hardworking men with nicknames like “Mick,” “Sonny,” “Woody,” “Skinny Wren,” and “Traitor Jack," the federal mining inspector. A late night escapade starting in the miners' shower room finds Dynamite George following the scent of Luigi's meatball sandwich into the depth of the mine with the night shift workers. The outcome is a series of events neither Dynamite George nor the miners bargained for – a gripping tale with a curious pack rat as the unlikely hero.

Through the adventures of a pack rat, Jamie and Windy take the reader into a world beneath the earth's surface and give them an understanding of mining and the people who work in the tunnels below. In this mining community, there are rumors that elf-like creatures (“Tommy Knockers”) are haunting the mine. When readers come up for air, they will have a better appreciation for those who work underground. Readers will develop a special love for that little furry creature who captured their hearts at the beginning of The Legend of Dynamite George – the Mining Pack Rat.

This fast-paced, humorous book is enjoyable for all ages. The author, Carroll Bennett, has applied her photojournalist's skills to illustrate the pages with precious pictures she took of George, the real-life pack rat. Additional photographs depict the uranium mine where Bennett was inspired to write her story.

What they are saying about Dynamite George:


"The Legend of Dynamite George is a gripping, edge of your seat, story. It's phenomenal! I kept thinking as I read it that it should become a movie! Your story is so beautifully crafted! You've developed the characters so well, drawn such detailed pictured through your words in creating the story's settings. You have got to be prouder than words can say of the treasure you've created."

--Bobbi Kahan, B.A., M.A., M.I.S.


"Carroll's delightful tale of family love, friendship, and hard work, illustrates how miners depend on each other in a dangerous work environment.  . . . an educational and fun story from start to finish for young and mature readers."

 --Heidi Williams Pearson


"An excellent story about a pack rat with the courage of a lion and about the endurance of the miners. I especially enjoyed the relationships of Jamie and his grandfather, and their young friend Windy. Thanks for sharing."

--David (Dick) Mantlo, retired history teacher, Grand Junction, Colorado


"Carroll combines love of animals, underground experience with uranium miners, and mining folklore into a delightful story about a pack rat, his antics, and the children who befriended him."

--Robert A. Sammons, Jr. M.D. Ph.D.


"I read 'The Legend of Dynamite George' and found it to be quite enjoyable. Bennett obviously has done her research and homework in mining and provides great written visuals. Her story is compelling and it was not long before I could not put the story down. I was fascinated with the legends surrounding a pack rate and how she tied it into the book

--Jon Soeder

Author, "True Tails"



The Legend of Dynamite George - The Mining Pack Rat, by Carroll Bennett, is a special story from beginning to end. Its very first words in the prologue, Claws shut like steel traps, immediately pull the reader into this 1970's tale set in a uranium mining town called Homestead , Wyoming . The book's title is a strong hint that Dynamite George is not a typical pack rat, but one that is unique in his attributes and contributions to life in Homestead . The photograph on the front cover is a warm invitation to open the book and find out about his legend.
Few readers will be knowledgeable about uranium mining or pack rats, however, the author quickly presents essential information so that readers move through the story quite comfortably. Of course, the main character of the story is Dynamite George, but each of the humans he touches is made very real by the author as this suspenseful story unfolds.
The settings are well developed through the author's skill with details, making each location in  Homestead and the uranium mine vividly clear to the reader. Photographs all taken by the author, as well as graphics and a mining glossary, further enhance the reader's understanding of the plot and the settings.
There are a number of themes crisply woven into this tale, some of which include the very hard and dangerous work of mining, the financial struggle of those who make it their life's work, and generational differences. Most importantly, though, is the theme that the bravery of heroes is found not just in humans.
This is a very remarkable story that will linger in the reader's mind long after the last chapter has been read. It is ideal to be made into a family movie, reaching a very large and appreciative audience.

Bobbi Kahan, B.A., M.A., M.I.S.
Learning Resources Center
400 N. State of Franklin Road
Johnson City, TN  37604

About the Author

Carroll Bennett



Award-winning photojournalist Carroll Bennett of Grand Junction, CO has lived a storied life as a competitive athlete, world traveler, and adventurer.  A graduate of Northern Arizona University, her diverse projects ranged from underwater photography in the Caribbean to archaeological digs of the pre-Columbian Chimu Civilization in Peru.  While working for the Museum of Northern Arizona, she worked as a photographer on The Ecological Survey of the Grand Canyon.  She climbed 1,000 foot walls carrying large format camera gear to match John Wesley Powell’s photos from the 1880’s.  The National Park Service used her images to evaluate the environmental impact of the Glen Canyon Dam and changes the past 100 years as well as intrusion by humans and invasive plant species.


Bennett’s book, THE LEGEND OF DYNAMITE GEORGE—The Mining Pack Rat was a finalist in the 2011 National Indie Excellence Awards.  Her portrayal of the lives of miners while working underground in an uranium mine and a mining community was based on her extensive experience when she worked as a health field specialist while testing miners for lung cancer.   This heartwarming, fast paced, suspenseful tale of a frisky pack rat that becomes an unlikely hero will delight young and old alike—a great read aloud story.


About this Book

When I was a photojournalist at the Museum of Northern Arizona in the 1970's, an employment opportunity arose that I hoped would give me new photo experiences.

Dr. Geno Saccomanno, M.D., Ph.D., a pathologist researching an epidemic of lung cancer in uranium miners, based at St. Mary's Hospital in Grand Junction, Colorado sent field technicians to the uranium mines to collect sputum samples. Our team drove a medical trailer from one mine site to another in four Rocky Mountain States.

This health-field experience exposed me to the mining world.  Many of our health tests had to be done underground where the miners were in jeopardy of contracting lung cancer if they did not wear their masks to keep out the dust. 

In Northern Wyoming, I met a mine demolition expert, Dee Haight. His pet pack rat “George” lived in a nest in the mine's explosives magazine. Federal regulations prohibited flammable materials in proximity of the explosives. When George and his nest were evicted, the miners were upset.

Pack rat photos in my story are original images of Dee Haight's pet. The mining photos in the glossary were taken when I conducted lung cancer tests underground.

Episodes involving the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) in my story are purely fictional. Below is a brief explanation of the federal law authorizing the United States Department of Labor to protect miners in hard rock and coal mines:

The Mine Safety and Health Administration administers provisions of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977 and enforces mandatory safety and health standards to eliminate fatal accidents, to reduce the frequency and severity of nonfatal accidents, to minimize health hazards, and to promote improved safety and health conditions in the mining industry.  Public Law 91-173

After my lung-cancer research project, I worked for MHSA and Colorado State University. Now retired, I work with digital imaging, photography, and writing.

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