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The Tailypo: A Ghost Story

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  543 Ratings  ·  89 Reviews
A strange varmint haunts the woodsman who lopped off his tail and had it for dinner.
Paperback, 40 pages
Published September 17th 1984 by HMH Books for Young Readers (first published 1977)
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Apr 16, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Arthur Graham
Feb 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I would like a meal I can call my own
Have a chance encounter with a tailypo
Chop off its fat tail, that would be a start
I would eat that thing wholly à la carte

From "Regret (Tusslin' with Tailypo)", by New Order

I have read many horror children’s books that deal with monsters, witches and ghosts, but I had never read any children’s books or folklore books for that matter that deal with the Tailypo before. So when I picked up Joanna Galdone’s retelling of the Tailypo story called “The Tailypo: A Ghost Story,” along with artwork by her father Paul Galdone, I was pleasantly surprised by how creepy this story came out!

The story starts off with an old man taking his three dogs (Uno, Ino and Cumptico-Calico)
Feb 14, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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.
Sam Quixote
Nov 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
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
Jan 06, 2008 rated it really liked it
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.
Mar 20, 2009 rated it it was ok
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
K.T. Katzmann
Jul 12, 2016 rated it liked it

Having started blogging the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark series, I've returned to one of my favorite childhood spooky stories: the Tailypo. In short, an isolated mountain man cuts off an eat a weird critter's tale, and the critter wants it back.

How did this one do? This one is a good basic standard. It keeps the flavor of the spoken folktale. If you want to check the accuracy of a Tailypo story, check the distinctive names of the dogs. Honestly, though, there's nothing spectacular, although
Sep 12, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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,
Nov 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-books
‘Tailypo, tailypo, now I’ve got my tailypo.’
David Turko
May 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Wow. I never expected a kids scary book to have an effect on me. Highly recommend.
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
Dec 12, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya
I noticed this on the shelf at the library while I was showing someone where the Paul Bunyan books were and couldn't help but check it out. I have fond memories of having read this as a child and being so afraid of the creepy creature depicted searching for it's tailypo.

Too right too! This story doesn't lose much as I revisit it as an adult. I didn't really remember the entire book, just that I was creeped out as a kid, but the ending of the book is downright chilling.

As I opened the cover to re
Oct 31, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books
This was surprisingly creepy for a picture book.
mary dewley
Dec 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
One of my hobbies is collecting folk tales from the southern United States, in particular, the Carolina's and Tennessee because of travelling there as a child and falling in love with the mountains and the rich stories and music found within. Pulp Fiction writer Manly Wade Wellman lived in North Carolina and wrote several stories that involved a character named Silver John, who carried a guitar and fought evil in Appalachia country. Joanna Galdone's tale of the Tailypo, as previously told to her ...more
Mar 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Excellent readaloud that is just the right level of spooky for young readers. I read it to a class of 5th graders and it was a big hit.
Paul Dilley
Jun 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Without a doubt the scariest children's book I've ever read!
Sandra Frey
Dec 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book freaked me the hell out when I was a kid.
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
Feb 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Ms. Kelly
Feb 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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
Gary Gotham
Sep 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
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
Jul 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Nov 08, 2015 added it
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
Oct 11, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Natalie Traylor
Nov 22, 2015 added it
Shelves: folk
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
Alicia Franklin
Jan 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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.
Monalisa Johnson-brown
This is about an old man who lived in a house and had three dogs. he was hungry and caught an animal and cut off his tail. He cooked it and ate. At nights he would here strange noise from the animal saying he wants his tail. The old man would send his dogs after the animal. Finally the animal made it inside and destroyed the house and the old man was never found again but the strange noise came saying "i want my tailypo" from the house.
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