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The Tailypo: A Ghost Story

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4.23  ·  Rating Details  ·  353 Ratings  ·  75 Reviews
A strange varmint haunts the woodsman who lopped off his tail and had it for dinner. "The telling is smooth, and Galdone is ever the master of visual pacing, with action and drama heightened through astute composition." -- Booklist
Paperback, 32 pages
Published December 1st 1977 by Seabury Press (first published 1977)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 622)
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karen
Feb 11, 2015 karen rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kiddiwinx, favorites
true story: when i was a kid, our school librarian read this to us in class. that night when i was drifting off to sleep, i found that the creature had followed me home and was scratching on the wall right outside. which was totally unfair because i hadn't even taken his damn tailypo. i mean, do your research, jerk... i had to sleep in my parents' bed for like a week. and that's why i have no younger siblings. way to go, tailypo.
Sam
Feb 14, 2009 Sam rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, scary
This was one of my favorite scary stories as a kid. I don't think anything beats Southern folklore. But I practically memorized this version, and I don't know how many times I had to retell it to my little brother, because he never got sick of it. I think this story also had to do with why I was always afraid of looking at the foot of my bed when I was little.
Jennifer
I was asked to visit the 3rd grade classrooms of a local elementary school to booktalk several different kinds of "storytelling" books.

I wanted to give an example of a truly American folktale, so after talking to my fellow children's librarian, she suggested Tailypo. Kids love ghost stories, although I got a mixed reaction to this one. About a third of the boys were very vocal in saying that, "Oh, it's not that scary." A good number of students were very engaged, especially when the varmint cha
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babyhippoface
A hungry old man chops off the tail of a curious creature that creeps into his cabin, cooks it, and eats it for dinner. Satisfied, he goes to bed, but is awakened by the scratching of something climbing the side of his cabin and calling, Tailypo, tailypo, all I want is my tailypo! The thing is persistent, and the story does not end well for the old man.

This is one of my favorite Halloween read-alouds for 1st and 2nd graders. The quieter my voice and the creepier the tailypo's, the bigger their e
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Caroline
Jan 06, 2008 Caroline rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
this is a great ghost story for kids. moral of the story: if a demonic creature comes into your house during the night, make sure it's really dead after you hack at it with an axe. otherwise, you'll just make him mad.
Mark
Jul 23, 2014 Mark rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-books
‘Tailypo, tailypo, now I’ve got my tailypo.’
Sam Quixote
Nov 05, 2011 Sam Quixote rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An old man living in a ramshackle hut in the woods with his three dogs goes hunting one night bringing home only a skinny rabbit. Once he has eaten the rabbit he is still hungry until a strange animal breaks into his hut. He chases after it but only manages to get its tail which he promptly cooks and eats. Then when he goes to bed, he hears a ghostly voice calling out to him that it is coming to get its "tailypo".

I'd never heard of this strange children's book when I was a kid and was curious t
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Petergiaquinta
Sep 12, 2013 Petergiaquinta rated it really liked it
Shelves: children
I never had the pleasure of reading this tale as a wee lad, but I read it out loud many times to my own children, and still today the refrain, "Tailypo, Tailypo, where is my Tailypo...?" often runs through my head at oddly random times, just like the "Fat Albert Theme Song" or the Old Spice jingle or George Clinton's vulgar limerick about that man from Peru who went to sleep in his canoe.

So thanks, Karen, for calling this fine book to my attention again. It's not going to get five stars from me,
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Harris
My sister brought this picture book home from the library the other day, and wanted to share it with me. I had totally forgotten about it but as soon as I saw that fuzzy, sinister creature on the cover I memories came back. School librarians reading aloud from this picture book, affecting scratchy, high pitched screeches of the menacing, vengeful beast a-searching for its “tailypo” and a creaky, breathless moan for the hapless old hermit who just happened to have eaten it. Creepy stuff!

If I reca
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Kathryn (Nine Pages)
Originally published on my blog, Nine Pages .

This is one of my friend’s favorite ghost stories—a local folktale—and before finding this book I’d heard her tell it a few times—very memorably—the first time while she was driving me down dark, twisty country roads at night when I couldn’t escape her story—and yes, we three adults all screamed when near the end we found a raccoon in the road with our headlights. She calls it “Tailybone,” but it’s the same story. Her storytelling is the unavoidable
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Kelly
Feb 12, 2015 Kelly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For families that have kids who like a good spook (like my neighbors who hang "bloody" barbie doll bodies from the ceiling of the play area during halloween) this book might be a nice book to share with all three kids (even the baby).

For my family of 1 child with a very active set of "oh my god it'll kill me and i'm going to cry myself breathless" imagination brain cells, this would not at ALL be a good fit.

The words are great for a read a loud book. It just creams campfire. The pictures are su
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Melissa Martin
I loved to hate this story twenty years ago when I was in elementary school. We used to beg or librarian to read this to us in her scary voice and then scream body murder when she got to the end. However, now as a mom to a three year old I think listening to these stories in school should be optional. I ferment chicKen crying when it was read. My daughter's only three so to her it's just funny but kids a bit older who don't enjoy horror could get nightmares and parents know nightmares are not fu ...more
Caitlyn Nicole
Nov 16, 2015 Caitlyn Nicole rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: folk
Galdone, Joanna. (1977). The Tailypo: A Ghost Story. New York: The Seabury Press.
Setting: A swamp/an old man's cabin
Genre: Folk tale

In this classic ghost story, a man chops off a strange animal's tail, cooks it, and eats it. Throughout the night, the old man hears strange noises and witnesses what seems to be supernatural occurrences. The strange animal haunts the man because it wants its tail back. I would read this to any age group during Halloween. This book has won the Georgia Children's Boo
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Natalie Traylor
An old man lives alone in the woods. One night, a creature sneaks into his house, and the old man chops off his tail for dinner. The creature keeps coming into his house saying he wants his tailypo back. At the end of the story, the creature scratches the man up, and he is never seen again.

I would use this book in my classroom during Halloween time. However, I would only use it for an older class, because it might scare a younger class. Then, the students could create their own scary story and
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David
Feb 29, 2012 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: picturebooks
The Tailypo: A Ghost Story by [Joanne Galdone], illustrated by Paul Galdone is a ghost story about a strange varmit that haunts the woodsman who chopped off its tale and ate it for dinner.

A still hungry woodsman chops off the tail of a strange creature in his cabin and eats the tail. He is haunted by the creature, though his dogs chase it off twice. The third time the dogs are far away and the creature enters the cabin to get back its tailypo.

I find the images of the hound dogs very appealing. M
...more
Betsy McElhannon
Nov 01, 2015 Betsy McElhannon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: folk
1. The Tailypo: A Ghost Story by Johanna C. Galdone
2. Awards: None
3. Genre: Folk
4. Setting: In a cabin in the middle of the spooky woods
5. This creepy tale of furry creature is a great book to read to a 2nd grade class around Halloween. It tells of a old man alone in the woods that eats the tail of a unidentified creature, and the creature comes back for his tail. It is a spooky, fun story that I think many students would want to read on their own as well.
Roxy
Nov 27, 2015 Roxy added it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: folk
A man who lives deep in the woods returns to his cabin with little food for nightly meal. Later on the man comes face to face with a bizarre creature with bright eyes and a long tail, the man quickly severs the tail which sends the creature back towards the woods and the man takes the tail for a meal. In the night the man awakes to the sound of the creature Tailypo who demands the return of his tail, scared the man calls on his 3 hounds to chase Tailypo back to the woods though only 2 hounds ret ...more
Kristina Moss
The Tailypo by Joanna C. Galdone is a story about a man who hunts and eats a rabitt. Once he has eaten the rabbit, he soon realizes that hes still hugry. Later that night the man hears ghost and voices which comes from the eaten rabitat. I would use this book in my class to simply expose students to exploring different genres and story types.
Gary Gotham
Sep 08, 2013 Gary Gotham rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I remember back to how scary I found Tailypo. Although it gave me nightmares, and I am afraid to say that it did, I read it night after night.

Tailypo is about a hungry old man who sees an odd creature creeping around his cabin. The creature had a ‘big, long, furry tail’, which the man cut clean off and later cooked and ate. The creature, however, comes back to claim his tail from the old man.

Tailypo is more than just a book to me; it is also a link to my past. Tailypo really kicks your imaginat
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Alicia Franklin
This book was read to me early on in Elementary School. It haunted me through elementary school, middle school and high school and finally, I decided to buy this book on Amazon and face my fears. Nope. Didn't work. I'm still afraid of the Tailypo. I enjoy the story, the artwork is stunning, and while I believe this would be perfect for Halloween, I would never read this to my future child or my future classroom.
Michael
Jan 26, 2016 Michael rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A strange little story, a little like the one with the lady who wasn't frightened of anything but was haunted by a skeleton that wanted its bone back. Might be a bit scary for younger readers, especially because (view spoiler).

I read another version (Tailypo: A Newfangled Tall Tale) with a different ending (view spoiler), but I actually thought it was a lot scarier beca
...more
Taylor Jarrell
Dec 02, 2015 Taylor Jarrell rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: folk
1. The Tailypo: A Ghost Story by Johanna C. Galdone
2. Awards: None
3. Genre: Folk
4. Setting: In a cabin in the middle of the spooky woods
5. This creepy tale of furry creature is a great book to read to a 2nd grade class around Halloween. It tells of a old man alone in the woods that eats the tail of a unidentified creature, and the creature comes back for his tail. It is a spooky, fun story that I think many students would want to read on their own as well.
Heather
Nov 26, 2014 Heather rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: to-buy, children-s
The scariest book I read when I was growing up. Though I'm not scared, it's stayed with me for 15+ years. Love it.
Nikol
Apr 15, 2014 Nikol rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My second grade teacher read me this book, and it utterly terrified me. It still scares me to this day.
Wendy
Oct 11, 2013 Wendy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I haven't read this personally but I still have to get up with little kids at night and don't like to be scared. My oldest daughter, however, had this read to her in her first grade class. She has been unable to sleep with the lights off or go to the bathrooms herself since! Sounds like a great spooky story for those who like to be scared, but I wish the school had given us the option. She is easily scared and, for this reason, we would have asked that she be spared this story. Just a thought fo ...more
Sarah Wiwchar
Read with 4/5s. Not sure if I would go any younger. They thought it was creepy.
DizzyKat
Jun 23, 2014 DizzyKat rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is and has always been my favorite 'scary' story from when I was a kid.
The Book Box
Mama read this to me and my big brother.
Kate
Oct 31, 2014 Kate rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books
This was surprisingly creepy for a picture book.
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