About the Illustrator

James Bernardin graduated from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, where he was an honors student and an award winner in the 1991 Society of Illustrators student competition. He has illustrated three books written by Paul Robert Walker: Big Men, Big Country, Giants! and Little Folk, contributing his colorful, powerful, yet whimsical style to create a series of award-winning folklore anthologies. Mr. Bernardin lives with his wife on Bainbridge Island, Washington.


• Davy Crockett Teaches the Steamboat a Leetle Patriotism
• Old Stormalong Finds a Man-Sized Ship
• Big Mose and the Lady Washington
• John Darling and the Skeeter Chariot
• Ol' Gabe in the Valley of the Yellowstone
• Paul Bunyan and the Winter of the Blue Snow
• John Henry Races the Steam Drill
• Gib Morgan Brings in the Well
• Pecos Bill Finds a Ranch but Loses a Wife

Other Books in the Walker-Bernardin Folklore Series

Selected Books

American History
The 1957 desegregation crisis at Little Rock Central High School, told through eyewitness accounts and contemporary photographs.
The story of the battle in the context of the Texas Revolution, told through eyewitness accounts and powerful historical images.
The compelling story of the battle told though eyewitness accounts and striking historical images.
Narrative Nonfiction
The story of two brilliant artists whose lifelong conflict jumpstarted the Renaissance in Quattrocento Florence.
The inspiring story of a Hall of Famer who rose from poverty in Puerto Rico to set new standards of excellence and integrity on and off the field.
Biographical profiles of thirteen Native Americans who led their people on the spiritual path in the face of foreign invasion and cultural pressure.
The amazing story of the world-famous angel artist, illustrated with full-color reproductions of his inspiring art.
Rambunctious, rollicking, rootin' tootin' retellings of nine American tall tales.
GINORMOUS retellings of world folktales about giants.
Teeny weeny retellings of world folktales about little people.
A coming-of-age novel set in the world of high school theater.
A first-place Little League team starts losing when their star player's bat mysteriously disappears.

BIG MEN, BIG COUNTRY: A Collection of American Tall Tales

Jacket illustration by James Bernardin
Illustrated by James Bernardin
Harcourt Brace • (hc) 1993 • (pb) 2000

(hc) ISBN 0-15-207136-9 • OSI
(pb) ISBN 0-15-202625-8 • OSI
80 pages • 8 1/2 x 11 • Ages 8 and up

American Bookseller Pick of the Lists

• American Folklore Society AESOP Accolade List

A sprightly large-format collection of episodes from the lives of nine tall-tale heroes. —Kirkus Reviews

Rip-roarin' . —Publishers Weekly

...excellent tall tale interpretations, eminently suitable for reading aloud and storytelling, not to mention for use in those tall tale curriculum units. An appealing title all around and a real asset to public and school library collections. —Booklist

Told with an appropriate blend of down-home dialect and vocabulary, with descriptve locale included, these stories are replete with humor and exaggeration. . . . Walker's carefully researched bibliography, citing many original sources, and his blending of several anecdotes to create slightly different story lines, invite comparison and contrast when these heroes are studied. —School Library Journal

American tall tales are as unique as the country that inspired them, with heroes as big and bold as the American frontier. In tall tale tradition, this great land became the scene of outlandish exploits and daring escapades by legendary figures such as John Henry, the steel-driving man; Pecos Bill, the roughest, toughest cowboy of them all; and Paul Bunyan, the giant logger with a brain to match his brawn.

Drawing from a variety of original sources, Paul Robert Walker continues in the great tradition of American storytelling by embellishing old favorites as well as introducing readers to lesser-known but equally amazing tall-tale heroes. Each of these nine wildly fantastic stories is followed by information detailing the origins of the tale. James Bernardin's energetic illustrations leap from the page with the bravado of Ol' Gabe's death-defying jump off a Yellowstone cliff. With both humor and insight, Big Men, Big Country captures the expansive spirit of the American people.