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