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American Tall Tales

3.88  ·  Rating Details ·  317 Ratings  ·  53 Reviews
The perfect addition to every family’s home library and just right for sharing aloud, American Tall Tales introduces readers to America’s first folk heroes in nine wildly exaggerated and downright funny stories.

Here are Paul Bunyan, that king-sized lumberjack who could fell “ten white pines with a single swing”; John Henry, with his mighty hammer; Mose, old New York’s bi
Hardcover, 128 pages
Published September 24th 1991 by Knopf Books for Young Readers (first published January 1st 1991)
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American Tall Tales

“American Tall Tales” is a set of tales from famous tall tale heroes of the west, African-American history, and of the Mississippi. Mary Pope Osborne’s hilarious retelling of the American heroes and Michael McCurdy’s wood engraved drawings both make these set of collections an instant treat.

“American Tall Tales” is a great book about tall tale legends that made a difference in the world. One of the best advantages in this book is the colorful characters. Each tall tale character is a portrait o
Sep 30, 2015 Julie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ethan-liam
Liam listened to this twice on a car trip because he was so entertained. It was cute to hear him giggling in the back of the van.
Marlee Mattson
Mar 30, 2014 Marlee Mattson rated it really liked it
"American Tall Tales" by Mary Pope Osborne is a great book of storytelling. There are 9 different story collections about different American characters. She does such a good job at really describing the characters and presenting them in such an entertaining way. For example, Johnny Appleseed set off to spread apples all over the frontier and saw so many different things during his time doing so. At one point, he even saw Abraham Lincoln! I have always loved the story of Johnny Appleseed and love ...more
Nov 20, 2015 Annikka rated it it was amazing
Shelves: traditional
Summarize the book:

This book contains many tall tales about people like Davey Crockett, John Henry, and Paul Bunyan just to name a few. There is a map near the front of the book that gives an idea about where each of these stories originated from, and at the beginning of each story there is a page describing some of the background of the story. It is a wonderful collection of tall tales and a little bit of the history behind them.

Identify the characteristics from the text that support the specif
Lisa Campbell
Jul 29, 2015 Lisa Campbell rated it really liked it
Categories/Genres for this class fulfilled by this book - Traditional, Middle Grades
Estimate of grade level of interest3-6th grades
Estimate of reading level 8-12 years
Brief description- A collection of american tall tales, including Paul Bunyan, Davy Crockett, and Pecos Bill, among others. The stories are told with humor, and illustrated with block prints. It is a mix of historical figures, and mythical figures.
Identify at least 2 characteristics of this genre and subgenre and discuss how they
Khaoi Mady
Mar 14, 2015 Khaoi Mady rated it really liked it
American Tall Tales. Mary Pope Osborne (1991). American Tall Tales is a book with a series of folktales such as Johnny Appleseed, Pecos Bill, and John Henry. The story I found to be most interesting was the story of Paul Bunyan. Paul Bunyan was born a giant and extraordinary baby. When he was two weeks old, he weighed over 100 pounds. As he grew up, he became famous for his exceptional size and strength. He also had a companion, Babe the Blue Ox. With his companion, Paul Bunyan cleared and logge ...more
Jessica Schwartz
Mar 26, 2014 Jessica Schwartz rated it really liked it
American Tall Tales by Mary Pope Osborne is a wonderful collection of fairy tales. It contains nine different stories that all talk about one particularly "tall" character. For example, Sally Ann Thunder Ann Whirlwind (who is big, tall, and strong) starts off with Davy Crockett going into the woods to do some bear hunting. He ends up getting stuck in a tree until Sally comes along and helps him out. Davy originally referred to Sally as "sweetie," to which Sally became quite displeased with. Afte ...more
Arlo Powell
May 01, 2015 Arlo Powell rated it really liked it
I read this book to my fifth graders and they loved it. It gave insights into life in different areas of the united states at different points in history. The stories themselves were exagerated and full of hyperbole, but the actual historical curcumstances are accurate. There is a brief section at the beginning of each story with historical facts and background which was very helpful for finding the elements of truth in these tall tales. I read a story per day (allowing sufficient time to debrie ...more
May 21, 2016 Sheri rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-aloud
This collection of tall tales, complete with introductions giving the historical background of each, was spot-on. The tone was perfect, and my kids were enchanted. Osborne's retellings have the same great narrative voice as Steven Kellogg's awesomely-illustrated versions, which we also read.

These are more of a read-aloud, since there are only a couple woodcut illustrations for each story and quite a bit of text; on the other hand, if you have a kid who's capable of reading chapter books, this mi
Jul 19, 2011 Aaronschafer rated it it was amazing
This was a very good book. Paul Bunyan is about a boy that grew unusually fast and large. People complained about how he would shake the ground as he walked when he was still just a toddler. In attempt to resolve the shaking, his parent put him in a big raft-like boat to keep him from shaking the ground but when he would roll over in the boat, it would create large waves that would flood the villages along the shores. So his parents were obligated to take him away and place him where he would no ...more
Jun 21, 2012 Amy rated it it was amazing
Traditional Fantasy. Published in 1991 for ages 9 and up. This book is made up of nine fairy tales with a different "tall hero" in each. The stories include Davy Crockett, Sally Ann Thunder Ann Whirlwind, Mose, Febold Feboldson, Pecos Bill, Paul Bunyan, JohnnyAppleseed, John Henry, and Stormalong. These tell the stories of how these awkward folks saved the day. I mostly enjoyed reading about Stormalong that is one I have never heard about and I love how this giant felt so uncomfortable he moved ...more
Amila Karabegovic
Sep 02, 2012 Amila Karabegovic rated it it was amazing
Jonny Appleseed, planted apple seeds wherever he went! This is a good book for primary students, particularly in the third to sixth grade, where the students start to understand history. A good activity would be planting apple seeds in schools that have a garden area to relate to Jonny Appleseed and his adventure.

Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox, is a great adventure tale with culture for primary students! From a young age Paul became a lumberjack, and met a Blue Ox named Babe that lead to a lif
Jun 24, 2013 Karen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
American Tall Tales by Mary Pope Osborne is a collection of nine different traditional tall tales from all around the United States. This book represents the tall tales that it seems as if all Americans have come to know, such as Paul Bunion and Johnny Appleseed, but it also represents women with Sally Ann Thunder Ann Whirlwind, Seamen such as Stormalong, African Americans with John Henry, and even city legends such as Mose. I really like the representations of so many different types of people. ...more
Nov 23, 2013 Lavonnia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The audio book entitled, American Tall Tales, is a collection of folklore books on CD. The audio book is intended for young readers ranging in age from 8 through 10 years old in grades 3rd through 5th. This age range would be (I) Intermediate, age 8 through 12.

This audio book tells stories of 9 folktale heroes. The various characters were men and women whose lives are explained with a little exaggeration to make the stories more interesting to the listener. There are various tall tales told on t
Aug 17, 2015 Kim rated it it was amazing
Very fun audio book that introduced the kids to a bit of Americana. The narrator was terrific with storytelling skills, and brought Osborne's words to life. As a parent listening, it was fun to re-hear some American folk tales - and to learn some new ones. This is a particularly easy book to stop and start, as each folk lore is broken up into an easily digestible chunk. Good choice for a car trip!
PennsyLady (Bev)
Jan 14, 2016 PennsyLady (Bev) rated it really liked it

Tall Tales" featuring 9 American folk heroes of the 19th century.

Family listening... performed by Scott Snively.

Age Range: 8 - 12 years
Grade Level: 3 - 6
Knopf Books for Young Readers

..include Davy Crockett, Sally Ann Thunder Ann Whirlwind, Johnny Appleseed, Stormalong, Mose, Febold Feboldson, Pecos Bill, John Henry, and Paul Bunyan.
Mar 30, 2014 Eddie rated it really liked it
Shelves: class-3
Osborne, Mary Pope. American Tall Tales. Knopf Books for Young Readers; Reissue edition, 1991.
Theme: Tall Tales

I really enjoyed this book. American Folk hero of the 19th century are very inspiring with what they accomplished with so little if the stories are true ;0. A few of my favorites are Davy Crockett and Paul Bunyan. This would be great for elementary school because of the word level and graphics. The drawings really help tell the stories.
Rosa Cline
May 06, 2014 Rosa Cline rated it liked it
Shelves: kids
This is a neat book as it has several tall tales in it. At the beginning of each tall tale it talks about the 'real' person or event. I started reading it to my special needs teen age son that loves Big John, Johnney Appleseed, John Henry etc. But these stories just wasn't 'there' for him...kind of lost more for older kids that like tall tales.
Oct 05, 2008 Annie rated it it was amazing
Genre: Tall Tales

Johnny Appleseed
In the Ohio Valley, a ghost is seen and heard. Johnny Appleseed became a legend in the early 1800's. He set off to become an apple missionary, spreading apples all over the frontier. He saw many things, including steamboats, buffalo, oxen, women gathering crops. He even saw Abraham Lincoln, giving him some encouragement. One spring night, Johnny laid down and talked with the animals, it was then he became a living legend, with his spirit wandering.

Ms. Mielke's Class Make sure you post how your sheets tell you to!!!!
American Tall Tales is a very good book to read for pleasure. Many of these stories have been some of my favorite folktales.I really enjoyed reading this book. $HH$

This book is about American tall tales. It features stories like Davy Crocket, Stormalong, Jonny Appleseed, John Henry, and Paul Bunyan. My favorite part of this book is when Paul Bunyan finally found a friend, Babe the big blue ox. I really enjoyed reading this book and think you will, too. HG
Feb 20, 2009 Rachel rated it really liked it
I have always loved hearing about tall tales, ever since I was little and watched the Disney versions of Paul Bunyun and Pecos Bill. Michael McCurdy's wood engraving illustrations in this book were amazing, and went well with the frontier theme of the book. They had familiar stories about Davy Crockett, Paul Bunyun, Pecos Bill, Johnny Appleseed and John Henry. There were lesser known stories about Sally Ann Thunder Ann Whirlwind (the wife of Davy Crockett), Stormalong (a giant sailor from Massac ...more
Mar 06, 2014 Mckinley rated it really liked it
Stories about Davey Crockett Boone, Johnny Appleseed, Pecos Bill, Alfred Bulltop Stormalong, Mose the Fireman, John Henry, and Paul Bunyan. Fun to read aloud or listen to audio version.
Ms. B
May 26, 2016 Ms. B rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens, 2016, folktale
A well-researched book about colorful characters from America's past.
Dec 18, 2015 Shannon rated it liked it
These types of stories have always been my favorite.

*No Favorite Passages*
Oct 14, 2015 Angel rated it really liked it
Great for sharing with kids, but also enjoyable as an easy read for adults.
Tiffany Tilton
Sep 02, 2008 Tiffany Tilton rated it really liked it
This is a good book for introducing students to folktales and expaining the differnces between fact and fiction, this book has both. Some of the stories are based on fact, while some are complete fiction. This book could also be implemented in a lesson about tales of American history. I would have given this book 5 stars, but the author clearly states in the preface that she changed some of the inforamtion in the tales to suit a politcally correct society. I understand her views, but i don't thi ...more
Jul 22, 2010 Gabriel rated it it was amazing
I wrote my own tall tale after reading these tall tales. Here is my tall tale:

Gabey the Tornady

On the day Gabey was born he screamed so loud that the walls caved in. Everybody thought a tornado had done the damage. For his first meal, Gabey ate ten barrels of eggs, sausage, and milk. When Gabey's Mom gave him his first bath, he splashed so hard that a whirlpool appeared. By Gabey's 6th birthday, he had frown as tall as a willow tree. Once Gabey rode his bike so fast that the tires spun up so mu
Scott Williams
Oct 17, 2008 Karin rated it really liked it
My boys really enjoyed this book. We read it to fill some cubscout requirements. It's written by the same author that wrote the Magic Treehouse Series. The illustrations are neat wood engravings. It has all the well-known tall tales--Pecos Bill, Paul Bunyun, Johnny Appleseed, as well as some I hadn't heard before. In her introduction, Mary Pope Osborne says that she tried to bring out the more vulnerable and compassionate side of the tall-tale characters in her retellings.
Eliot Kelly-Leftwich
Jan 12, 2016 Eliot Kelly-Leftwich rated it really liked it
Needed more stories about women.
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Mary Pope Osborne has channeled a lifelong love of exploration and travel into one of the most popular children’s book series of the past two decades. With her fantastic Magic Tree House series, Mary Pope Osborne keeps the good times rolling for kids all over the world.
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