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    American Tall Tales

    American Tall Tales

    • JOHN HENRY - written by Julius Lester, illustrated by Jerry Pinkney, narrated by Samuel L. Jackson
    • SWAMP ANGEL - written by Anne Isaacs, illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky, narrated by Allison Moorer

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    American Tall Tales

    American Tall Tales

    by Mary Pope Osborne and Michael McCurdy

    The superb and hilarious tales of nine wildly exaggerated American folk heroes, including Paul Bunyan, John Henry, Sally Ann Thunder, Ann Whirlwind, and many more.

    $8.21 You save: 25%
    Paperback Book | Grades 5-6
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    American Tall Tales
    Grades 5-6 $8.21
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American Tall Tales

Author: Mary Pope Osborne

Illustrator: Michael McCurdy

Interest Level:

Lexile Framework:

Grade Level Equivalent:

Guided Reading Level:


Fables, Folk Tales and Myths, Short Stories

Action and Adventure Heroes, North America

About This Book

This colorful, exuberant collection of nine traditional American folk tales are peopled with wildly exaggerated heroes and heroines. In her informative introduction, versatile and prolific author Mary Pope Osborne explains that the origin of these characters is "from various combinations of historical fact, storytelling of ordinary people, and the imaginations of professional writers." Osborne's stories reveal a wide range of geographical settings, and illustrate the many different occupations — pioneer settlers, backwoodsmen and women, farmers, volunteer firefighters, sailors, cowboys, laborers, and loggers — that contributed to the development of America.

Osborne's focus is on the absurd humor, vulnerability and compassionate aspects of her tales, despite their, at times, prejudiced and violent leanings. Through one of the collection's female characters, Sally Ann Thunder Ann Whirlwind, Osborne portrays an outrageously bold and ingenious frontier woman who can match any of her male counterparts and more. The mythical or possibly real John Henry is shown to be a strong, hard-working African American hero. Pecos Bill's wife, Slue-foot Sue, doesn't ride his bronco, Widow Maker, as an act of wifely disobedience, but as a way to test her skill. Michael McCurdy's rugged, color-tinted wood engravings beautifully support the frontier theme of the book.

Osborne introduces each story with background information that provides factual contrast to the larger-than-life tales. Also included is a story-by-story bibliography listing primary sources, including books, and articles that Osborne found helpful. Use this lively collection to inspire readers to write their own tall tales about the people who helped shape America.

About the Author

As a children's book author, Mary Pope Osborne considers herself to be a professional daydreamer.

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