American Tall Tales

American Tall Tales

by Mary Pope Osborne, Michael McCurdy

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The perfect addition to every family’s home library and just right for sharing aloud, American Tall Tales introduces readers to America’s first folk heroes in nine wildly exaggerated and downright funny stories.
Here are Paul Bunyan, that king-sized lumberjack who could fell “ten white pines with a single swing”; John Henry, with his mighty hammer; Mose, old New York’s biggest, bravest fireman; Sally Ann Thunder Ann Whirlwind, who could “outgrin, outsnort, outrun, outlift, outsneeze, outsleep, outlie any varmint”; and other uniquely American characters, together in one superb collection.
In the tradition of the original nineteenth-century storytellers, Mary Pope Osborne compiles, edits, and adds her own two cents’ worth—and also supplies fascinating historical headnotes. Michael McCurdy’s robust colored wood engravings recall an earlier time, perfectly capturing all the vitality of the men and women who carved a new country out of the North American wilderness.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780307982599
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Publication date: 08/28/2013
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 128
Sales rank: 557,285
File size: 31 MB
Note: This product may take a few minutes to download.
Age Range: 8 - 12 Years

About the Author

Mary Pope Osborne is the award-winning author of over sixty books for children. Her works include One World, Many Religions; New York’s Bravest; Tales from the Odyssey; Adaline Falling Star; and the Magic Tree House series, a New York Times number one bestselling children’s book series that has sold over 100 million copies worldwide. Ms. Osborne lives in northwestern Connecticut with her husband, Will.
Michael McCurdy is a distinguished illustrator whose wood engravings and drawings have enhanced many books for both adults and children. From 1968 to 1985, he owned Penmaen Press Books, where he produced beautiful small-press first editions by leading American and European writers and poets. He wrote and illustrated An Algonquin Year: The Year According to the Full Moon and edited and illustrated Escape from Slavery: The Boyhood of Frederick Douglass in His Own Words. He lives with his wife, Deborah, in Massachusetts.


Goshen, Connecticut

Date of Birth:

May 20, 1949

Place of Birth:

Fort Sill, Oklahoma


B.A., University of North Carolina

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American Tall Tales 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Although I was hesitatnt about spending the money on these audio CDs, I am so thankful that I did! I am a student teacher, and I was teaching the class about imaginative literature, particularly legends/tall tales. I bought the American Tall Tales book by Mary Pope Osborne as well as these CDs. The CDs were the perfect accompaniement to the lesson. The students were completely engrossed in the stories, and it was a great alternative to simply me reading it aloud. It really brought the story alive, with expression and all of its descriptive words. I think this is a perfect gift for an elementary teacher (I am in a 4th grade class) and a great way to bring American legends/tall tales to life for kids. I was VERY pleased with this purchase!
ElenaEstrada on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
American Tall Tales by Mary Pope Osborn is a collection of American tall tales which include, among others, Davy Crockett, Johnny Appleseed, Pecos Bill, and Paul Bunyan. It incorporates part of American history as it documents larger than life characters whose primary purpose was to establish a new country by settling the rouged frontier lands. Since there is really no tall tales of American women, the author takes the liberty and combines several female characters into a single heroine and she calls her Sally Ann Thunder Ann Whirlwind. I think this fabrication is a bit of a misrepresentation of the American Tall tales since she invented the tall tale as she wrote the book. Although it is a fabrication, I can understand why the author felt compelled to combine some documentation of different female frontier women and make at least one heroine up. According to the author, stories of strong frontierswomen do exist, but they never received the notoriety that the male characters received. In fact, the author points out that Davy Crockett spoke of these strong women and described them as ¿outrageous¿ and ¿comical¿. It maybe that women who ventured too far from the social mares of that time where not accepted as part of that society. Ages: 5-10
farfromkansas on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Mary Pope Osborne¿s version of ¿John Henry¿ (included in American Tall Tales) includes an introduction that lays the historical foundation of the story. She begins by describing the process of railroad construction and the origin of ¿steel drivers,¿ and then leads into the origins of the John Henry stories, dating their creation to the 1870¿s. In the actual story of ¿John Henry¿ she has written, Osborne embraces the ¿fantasy¿ of tall tales, including the claims that John Henry was born with a hammer in his hand and that he did the work of five men at the same time. Clearly, Osborne enjoys the ¿larger-than-life¿ tone of tall tales and keeps this tone alive in her version of the story.Michael McCurdy¿s wood engraving illustrations are remarkable unique: like the tall tales described in the book, wood engravings come from an Americana tradition that evolved quickly into other graphic forms. Because of this, McCurdy¿s illustrations seem almost quaint at times; however, he does ¿modernize¿ these pictures by adding stylized elements (particularly poses and settings) that lend a ¿cartoonish¿ quality that will make the artwork more accessible to young children.Citation:Osborne, Mary Pope, and Michael McCurdy. "John Henry." American Tall Tales. New York: Knopf, 1991. 87-95. Print.
cnolasco on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Osborne, M.P. (1991). American Tall Tales (McCurdy, M. Illus.). New York: Knopf.American Tall Tales is a collection of tales retold by Mary Pope Osborne. Some of the tales included are: Paul Bunyan, Davy Crockett, Johnny Appleseed, and Pecos Bill. Before each of the tales is a page of notes on the story, which helps give a little historical perspective on where and how these tales came to be. The tales range from eight to ten pages in length and all have colored wood engravings portraying parts of the story. I enjoyed the wood engravings because I feel that they fit the stories well. The tales are old and have been passed down and the wood engravings have that same feeling to them. Included in the back is a bibliography listing the sources Osborne used to retell the stories. Overall, nothing new here, but a nice collection to the basic American tall tales
SigmundFraud on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
using for my small class of eight year olds.
alliek710 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Use during a tall tales unit. To teach about folk tales and the classic characters and their stories.
paTX More than 1 year ago
Goes into more detail for our Cub Scout Bears. Very enjoyable, but the level may be hard for some to read without help.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago