Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Swamp Angel” as Want to Read:
Swamp Angel
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Swamp Angel

3.89  ·  Rating Details ·  1,561 Ratings  ·  150 Reviews
Swamp Angel can lasso a tornado, and drink an entire lake dry. She single-handedly defeats the fearsome bear known as Thundering Tarnation, wrestling him from the top of the Great Smoky Mountains to the bottom of a deep lake. Caldecott Medal-winning artist Paul O. Zelinsky's stunning folk-art paintings are the perfect match for the irony, exaggeration, and sheer good humor ...more
Paperback, 40 pages
Published January 1st 2000 by Puffin Books (first published September 1st 1994)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Swamp Angel, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Swamp Angel

Turtle's Race with Beaver by Joseph BruchacRaven by Gerald McDermottThe First Strawberries by Joseph BruchacTops & Bottoms by Janet StevensThe Talking Eggs by Robert D. San Souci
Picture Books On North American Folktales
12th out of 116 books — 10 voters
The Night Circus by Erin MorgensternThe Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse by Robert RankinThe Outsiders by S.E. HintonDead Bitch Army by Andre DuzaWhite Noise by Don DeLillo
There Ought to be a Band
497th out of 1,573 books — 624 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
There were things I liked a lot about this book. First, it's a very tall tale with a very tall girl and a very big bear. I like the "just so stories" aspect because we learn how the Smoky Mountains were named, and how Ursa Major came to be in the sky (tall tales style, of course). And some of the writing style was quite fun, in the best folksy, tall tale fashion--why, it's no wonder "stories about the Swamp Angel spring up like sunflowers along the wagon trails."

Now, I was not a big fan of the
Lisa Vegan
I read this for the Picture Books club over at the Children's Books group, where this month’s theme is North American folk tales. This one surprised me because it is an original tale; I was expecting and I would have preferred to read a more traditional tale, although, if I’d enjoyed this story and its illustrations more than I did, I’d probably have been thrilled with a brand new tale.

My favorite things about this book were the different wood grains background of the illustrations, the last pag
Jan 24, 2011 Luann rated it really liked it
I quite enjoyed this. I read it to my library classes as part of a lesson on tall tales. It worked well in illustrating the elements of a tall tale yet was a story they hadn't already heard. Overall the students enjoyed it, especially the illustrations. This is definitely deserving of its Caldecott Honor! The attention to detail that carries from page to page throughout the story is a lot of fun. Many of my students noticed the dog that appears on nearly every page - even though he is TINY.

A ver
Crystal Marcos
Aug 05, 2010 Crystal Marcos rated it liked it
2 1/2 stars~I started with Swamp Angel, it looked interesting. I liked the cover and I have to say I wanted to like this book more than I did. The title itself is a promising title. I couldn't really get into the story. I found myself more interested in the illustrations themselves. Again, I liked the cover but once I got inside I wasn't really thrilled. I agree with Kathryn I like the tall tale aspect of the story but I didn't feel it really delivered. I also couldn't get past the tobacco and w ...more
Courtney Dyer
Swamp Angel is a Caldecott Honor book written by Anne Isaacs and illustrated by master illustrator Paul O. Zelinsky. Zelinsky, known for his beautiful oil paintings, doesn’t hold back for this Tennessee tall tale. For the illustrations, he used oil paint on a combination of cherry, maple, and birch veneers.

Swamp Angel was known for her buckskin bravery. When her town is terrorized by a large bear named Thundering Tarnation who is eating up all of their winter rations, she sets out to find the be
Oct 16, 2009 Dolly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
This is an interesting folktale, similar to the "Paula Bunyan" book I read a month or so ago. It's full of tall tales and exaggerations and is a fun story to read aloud. The illustrations by Paul O. Zelinsky are funny and have an old fashioned feel.

This story was selected as one of the books for the August 2010 - North American Folktales reads at the Picture-Book Club in the Children's Books Group here at Goodreads.
Swamp Angel is a tall-tale story with a female main character who has giant-like qualities. The setting takes place in a wooded area of Tennesse during the pioneer era. The book's illustrations ties into the setting. Each page is made to resemble grains of wood. The story is contained within outlined frames. The villagers were being attached by a huge bear. They were afraid of it and many had attempted to capture the bear so it would not hurt anymore villagers. When Swamp Angel went to help out ...more
May 13, 2013 Carissa rated it it was amazing
This book was a hoot to read. It used dialect, which drew a Southern accent out of me as she wrastled with the big ol' bear. Caldecott honor? Caldecott medal, I say.
If you like this book, you may like "John Henry" by Julius Lester.
Great. Oil paint on cherry, maple, or birch veneer. Sly and over-the-top at the same time with lots of great visual jokes and characterizations and wonderful writing. A female Paul Bunyan set in the woods and mountains of Tennessee. Would definitely buy for tomboy, outsized girls.
Anne Broyles
Aug 24, 2016 Anne Broyles rated it liked it
The words of SWAMP ANGEL’s tall tale about a superhuman heroine in Tennessee in the early 1800s are perfectly matched by Zelinsky’s lush, primitive-style paintings.
Oct 16, 2016 Amelia rated it really liked it
Swamp Angel is a book about a young girl who is a giant (according to illustrations) and begins helping people out of unfortunate situations. First she helps people get out of a swamp by lifting their wagons out. Next she saved a settlement from a menacing bear after all other hunters failed, but it was quite a struggle. She tried to throw him but then a tornado came, they fought for 3 days. She refuses to quit until she kills him and gets his pelt. He was killed by a tree and it fed many people ...more
Alexis Munk
Oct 16, 2016 Alexis Munk rated it did not like it
Shelves: transitional
I did not like this book at all. There was a reference in the book the book that I did not think was appropriate for any elementary school child.
Kimberlee Gutterman
Oct 10, 2016 Kimberlee Gutterman rated it it was ok
Shelves: traditional
In this book, Swamp Angel and Tarnation are fighting so rough that they stir up all the dirt on the mountains making them known as the Smokey Mountains. I really liked this about the story because it gave it an element of realness because the Smokey Mountains are actual mountains. I think this is good for children to read because they can begin to use their own imagination about things and they can come up with their own conclusions about how certain things came to be. I think this story is espe ...more
Zhānlìyàn Liú
Oct 13, 2015 Zhānlìyàn Liú rated it liked it
Title: Swamp Angel
Author: Anne Issacs
Illustrator: Paul O. Zelinsky
Genre: Legend
Theme(s): Heroic, being different
Opening line/sentence: On August 1, 1815, when Angelica Longrider took her first gulp for air on this earth, there was nothing about the baby to suggest that she would become the greatest woodswoman in Tennessee.
Brief Book Summary: The book starts off with a girl growing up to be essentially a giant, and she uses her size to save her people from mayhem. No one doubts her, until a bear
Natalie Haldeman
Jul 01, 2016 Natalie Haldeman rated it liked it
Title: Swamp Angel
Author: Anne Isaacs
Illustrator: Paul O. Zelinsky
Genre: Legend
Theme(s): Frontier/Pioneer Life, Tennessee, Fiction
Opening line/sentence: On August 1, 1815, when Angelica Longrider took her first gulp of air on this earth, there was nothing about the baby to suggest that she would become the greatest woodsman in Tennessee.
Brief Book Summary: This story follows a girl known as Swamp Angel who is very brave and courageous. She sets out to kill a bear, who the men in the story think
Mary Walling
May 02, 2012 Mary Walling rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: ages 4 and above
Recommended to Mary by: Fire and Ice
Swamp Angel
by Anne Issacs
Illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky
Hardcover, 48 pages
Published September 1, 1994
by Dutton Children's Books
ISBN-10: 0525452710
ISBN-13: 978-0525452713
Book Source: Bought
5 Stars

Book Summary: This is an original story told in the American frontier tradition of tall tales. The Swamp Angel of the title is Angelica Longrider, who was born scarcely taller than her mother and didn’t build her first log cabin until she was a full two years old. In the tallest tale of all, Swamp Ange
Colleen Graves
Jun 22, 2011 Colleen Graves rated it liked it
Shelves: great-ya-books
a. Isaacs, Anne. 1994. SWAMP ANGEL Ill. by Paul Zelinsky. New York: Dutton Children’s Books. ISBN 0525452710

b. This traditional tale starts with the hyperbolic birth and growth of Angelica Longrider, who takes on the epithet of Swamp Angel at the age of twelve. At birth she is barely taller than her mother, and at twelve she is able to lift covered wagons and save them from a murky burial in the Tennessee swamp. When a enormous bear begins to ravage the settlement’s food storage, Swamp Angel ent
Kaylie Rahe
Sep 27, 2016 Kaylie Rahe rated it really liked it
Shelves: el-230
This book was cute and I think would really keep the attention of children, especially in grades 3-4. The illustrations were great and tied together well with the story.
Aug 18, 2010 Ronyell rated it really liked it
Recommended to Ronyell by: The Picture-Book Club
I actually heard of “Swamp Angel” when I first saw it on one of the “Weston Woods” videos. “Swamp Angel” is a Caldecott Honor Book by Anne Isaacs along with gorgeous illustrations by Paul O. Zelinsky and it is about how Tennessee’s greatest woods woman, Swamp Angel, tries to outsmart a threatening black bear named Thundering Tarnation. “Swamp Angel” may have some scattering images that might be a bit irritable for some children, but it still a great read for children who love tall tales!

Seeing a
Erick Escalera
Dec 07, 2014 Erick Escalera rated it it was amazing
Angelica Longrider was born 1815. She was considered an incredible Tennessee girl since she was larger than life. Angelica was as large as a building and used her strength to help her fellow settlers. As she got older they began calling her Swamp Angel because of her great deeds. A massive bear then terrorized all the settlers frightening everyone. The bear was named Thundering Tarnation since that was what people would shout before getting eaten up. As the bear ravages through the woods, Angel ...more
Jun 24, 2013 Karen rated it really liked it
Swamp Angel is the fictional story of Angelica Longrider. Even though the narrator downplays her beginnings (She was scarcely taller than her mother when she was born and didn't build her first log cabin until she was two), it is obvious to the reader that she is special from the beginning. Many people of the town like Angelica, and she gets acquires the name Swamp Angel because she is so helpful with getting people unstuck from the swamp. The other main character is Thundering Tarnation, a huge ...more
Isaacs, A. (1994). Swamp angel. New York, NY: Penguin Books.

When Angelica Longrider was born, there was nothing to suggest the powerful woman she would become, other than her outrageous size, of course. By the time she was twelve, she was able to perform marvelous feats in the backwoods of Tennessee, including saving a wagon train from Dejection Swamp, which earned her the nickname Swamp Angel. When word of a bear hunting competition reaches town, Swamp Angel is the only girl to sign up. While n
Mary Harris
Oct 14, 2012 Mary Harris rated it liked it
Citation: Swamp Angel, by Anne Isaacs. (Dutton Children’s Books, 1994). 34p. Traditional Literature.

Genre: Picture Book – Traditional Literature

Summary: Angelica Longrider born in Tennessee becomes a swamp angel by saving a stranded wagon train. This tall tale continues with her fighting a big black bear named Tarnation.

A. One of the strengths of the story is the suspense and action that is portrayed through the illustrations and interwoven throughout the story.

B. Angelica Longrider a.k.a. Swa
I was a little disappointed with this book. I mean how can you go wrong with Paul O. Zelinsky doing your illustrations (folk-art style)? Even though his paintings are great, this original tall tale, which is kind of like the Southern female version of Paul Bunyun, fell sorta flat. Angelica Longrider, aka Swamp Angel due to her rescuing some pioneers in a swamp, is pretty impressive. She uses rain clouds to stop a house fire, uses her apron to stop a flood, just to name a couple feats. She decide ...more
A beautifully illustrated picture book set in the beginning of the 1800s in Tennessee. Angelica Longrider is born differently from everyone else in terms of size. Known as the Swamp Angel after she saved a wagon train logged in the mire, this is an American tall tale which competes our giant hero against the great bear known only as Thundering Tarnation (great name).
When none of the men in the land can defeat this great foe, Angelica decides to ignore the cruel jibes of the local men 'Shouldn't
Jul 22, 2015 Cathi rated it it was amazing
When this book came out in 1994, I read a review of it in the newspaper and thought it sounded like something our children would enjoy. It's a wonderful book and has become a family "classic" which we've enjoyed for over two decades. My dad was a big Paul Bunyan fan when he was a kid, and I must take after him, because I've always loved tall tales. I enjoy the imagination, humor, and sheer joy of the incredible adventures of Paul Bunyon, Pecos Bill, Mike Fink, and yes, even Angelica Longrider.

Nov 29, 2013 Rebekah rated it really liked it
Shelves: traditional
The interesting cover is what originally drew me to Swamp Angel. It reminded me a lot of Paul Bunyan. Swamp Angel tells the story of Angelica Longrid who was born in Tennessee and as a newborn was "scarcely taller than her mother". Angelica's community loves her because of her courageous acts of rescue. She becomes known as "Swamp Angel" because of these acts. When the great bear "Thundering Tarnation" begins to terrorize the good people of Tennessee, Angel joins the hunt to find the bear and pr ...more
Jan 23, 2010 Laura rated it really liked it
This tall tale introduces us to giantess woodswoman named Swamp Angel, a fictional Tennessee heroine who saves the villagers from a ravaging bear. She is a respectable challenger to the bear's strength, and their fight has quite an ending, forever remembered in the stars (hint: how did 'big bear' get to be the name of a constellation anyway?!). This is a wonderful read aloud, especially if the reader has some fun with dialect and all the fun expressions. Since I'm from the midwest and feel at ho ...more
Ch13_megan Carlisle
Jan 28, 2013 Ch13_megan Carlisle rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Swamp Angel tells the story of Angelica Longrid who was born in Tennessee and as a newborn was "scarcely taller than her mother". She is a beloved member of her community and because of her courageous acts of rescue, she becomes known as "Swamp Angel". When the great bear "Thundering Tarnation" begins to terrorize the good people of Tennessee, Angel joins the hunt to find the bear and protect her people.

Anne Isaacs crafts an engaging folktale set in the hills of Tennessee. The place and the peo
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Hot Air: The (Mostly) True Story of the First Hot-Air Balloon Ride
  • Song of the Water Boatman and Other Pond Poems
  • The Boy of the Three-Year Nap
  • The Faithful Friend
  • Hildilid's Night
  • Casey at the Bat: A Ballad of the Republic Sung in the Year 1888
  • Hondo & Fabian
  • The Graphic Alphabet
  • Free Fall
  • Peppe the Lamplighter
  • John Henry
  • Starry Messenger: Galileo Galilei
  • The Judge: An Untrue Tale
  • Goggles!
  • A Child's Calendar
  • Noah's Ark
  • Raven: A Trickster Tale from the Pacific Northwest
  • Time Flies

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »