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Tall Tales

You probably know Paul Bunyan, Pecos Bill, John Henry, and Davy Crockett -- characters whose larger-than-life stories are part of America's Old West tall tales. But did you know there are also tall tales about women and that other countries have tall tales, too? Share their enduring stories with kids ages 0-9 in these recommended books about great strength, big adventures, and powerful and steadfast friends! (P.S. The EDsitement website has a good lesson on tall tales).
Quotable Quotes: The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you'll go. -- Dr. Seuss

American Tall Tales

By: Mary Pope Osborne, Michael McCurdy
Illustrated by: Michael McCurdy
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Meet heroes (and heroines) in these well-told tales of fictitious and actual characters from American folklore. These tales are ideal for reading aloud, and are illustrated with strong-lined wood engravings.

Children of the Dragon: Selected Tales from Vietnam

By: Sherry Garland, Trina Schart Hyman
Illustrated by: Trina Schart Hyman
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Learn why the tiger has stripes, what happens to those who behave badly, and much more in this rich collection. The lore of Southeast Asia comes to life in strong retellings complemented by jewel-toned illustrations.

Cut from the Same Cloth: American Women of Myth, Legend and Tall Tale

By: Robert San Souci, Brian Pinkney
Illustrated by: Brian Pinkney
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

From the Northeast to the West, the United States is filled with stories of wise, strong, and just plain amazing women. American tall tales about resilient women from many backgrounds are presented in the text of this book and depicted by the robust lines of scratchboard illustration.

Davy Crockett Saves the World

By: Rosalyn Schanzer
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Every word in this book is true; that is, of course, "unless it's false." Outrageous stories about this larger-than-life guy were inspired by the Crockett almanacs and are retold here with verve and laugh-out-loud humor in words and pictures.

John Henry

By: Julius Lester
Illustrated by: Jerry Pinkney
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Pre-Reader

John Henry’s talent was evident at an early age when he helped his daddy, but was cemented in American folklore when he took on the steam drill. His place among American tall tale heroes is chronicled in richly detailed watercolors and language.

Kumak’s Fish: A Tall Tale from the Far North

By: Michael Bania
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Pre-Reader

When Kumak snags a fish — a really big fish — it takes the entire village to bring it in. This original tall tale set in the Arctic has light-hearted illustrations that add vigor and glee to the playful story.

Master Man: A Tall Tale of Nigeria

By: Aaron Shephard, David Wisniewski
Illustrated by: David Wisniewski
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Pre-Reader

Even the strongest man of all can be outmatched, as Shadusa learns. This retelling of a Nigerian tale is told with cut paper illustrations carefully placed in comic book-like panels, which emphasize the humor and lesson of this super-sized tall tale.

Mountain Men: True Grit and Tall Tales

By: Andrew Glass
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

The lives of real people inspire the tales that are told about them. Retold here with humor and colorful language, the stories and people of the mountains are larger-than-life in the actions and pictures of this tall tale book.

Paul Bunyan

By: Steven Kellogg
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Pre-Reader

Paul Bunyan and his ox named Babe are larger than life tall tale heroes — who quite literally helped shape the American landscape. The huge lumberjack is introduced through animated illustrations and lively language as he creates the Grand Canyon and more.

Pecos Bill: A Tall Tale

By: Steven Kellogg, Laura Robb
Illustrated by: Laura Robb
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Pre-Reader

Pecos Bill could tame ’most anything in the Wild West — at least until he came up against a gal called Slewfoot Sue and a horse named Lightning. Steven Kellogg’s signature style is ideal for this funny glimpse of a tall tale hero in the pioneer days of the old West.

The Boy Who Drew Cats

By: Arthur Levine, Frederic Clement
Illustrated by: Frederic Clement
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Poor but worthy, Kenji loves to draw — perhaps too much. But his art comes alive in surprising ways when he defeats an evil goblin rat. Graceful illustrations and atmospheric language combine to evoke the tale’s Japanese origins.

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