What's the Name of That Book??? discussion

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Suggest books for me > American folk tales and tall tales

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message 1: by Kristen (last edited Feb 26, 2012 03:17PM) (new)

Kristen | 84 comments I would like to read about American folk tales or tall tales, like Paul Bunyan etc. Collections of stories or novels are both fine. Anything for teen or adult demographic is preferable, but kids books are cool, too.


message 2: by Kate (new)

Kate Farrell | 4072 comments Mod
A good book to start is The Dark-Thirty: Southern Tales of the Supernatural

Books by Gerald McDermottare beautiful Native American folktales. They are children's books.
African American folktales: The People Could Fly: American Black Folktalesand Her Stories
One of my favorite books is I Heard the Owl Call My Name


message 3: by Kristen (new)

Kristen | 84 comments Thank you very much for the suggestions, Kate!


message 4: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl (cherylllr) Folk tales are a little different than Tall Tales. Paul Bunyan is a character in a Tall tale, he's an exaggerated heroic type. Other character names in this genre are Pecos Bill, Mike Finn, and John Henry (off the top of my head).

Folk tales should properly include the Brer Rabbit tales by 'Uncle Remus.' The Complete Tales of Uncle Remus is probably a good place to start. Do note that these are considered racist and are for scholars, not for children. There are however adaptations fit for children - your librarian can probably help you find lovely picture-books.


message 5: by Kristen (new)

Kristen | 84 comments Cheryl in CC NV wrote: "Folk tales are a little different than Tall Tales. Paul Bunyan is a character in a Tall tale, he's an exaggerated heroic type. Other character names in this genre are Pecos Bill, Mike Finn, and J..."

Thank you for pointing out my mistake. I actually did mean tall tales, although the folk tales all sound cool. I actually have a copy of The Complete Tales of Uncle Remus that I haven't read, and now I think I should! If you have any suggestions on tall tales, too, I'd love to hear them!


message 6: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl (cherylllr) I don't actually know of any specific tall tale collections. They were told pretty much word-of-mouth, and every version is a bit different. Again, the librarian in the Children's section should be able to guide you to what they have. Otherwise, you could just search by name. I do see, when I search here on GR, that American Tall Tales looks pretty good.


message 7: by Kate (new)

Kate Farrell | 4072 comments Mod
Another possibility is the Alvin Maker series by Orson Scott Card. Seventh Son is the first book in the series. Card weaves together folk tales, tall tales, and magic into a story set in an alternate American frontier.


message 8: by Kristen (new)

Kristen | 84 comments Kate wrote: "Another possibility is the Alvin Maker series by Orson Scott Card. Seventh Son is the first book in the series. Card weaves together folk tales, tall tales, and magic into a story se..."
That sounds really cool! It will definitely go on my to-read list. Many thanks to you and everyone else who has suggested books for me. The effort is appreciated!


message 9: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl (cherylllr) Oh, yeah, for a definitely adult take, check out American Gods by Neil Gaiman. The various Coyote Trickster tales are also interesting, and there are stories and books about him for all ages including very adult.


message 10: by Kristen (new)

Kristen | 84 comments I loved American Gods! I guess that is pretty close to what I'm looking for, but with more American tall tales and folk tales involved.


message 11: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl (cherylllr) :)


message 12: by D.M. (last edited Feb 29, 2012 04:53PM) (new)

D.M. Dutcher  | 340 comments Kristen, you might want to try John the Balladeer by Manly Wade Wellman. Fantasy short stories that make use of creatures from Appalachian folk tales. Watch out for the Behinder, the hoop snake, and the Squonk.


message 13: by Kristen (new)

Kristen | 84 comments John the Balladeer sounds very interesting. It has just been added to my to-read list!


message 14: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl (cherylllr) It does look interesting. I wonder, though - are you looking for just good reads? Or did you want something more authentic or scholarly? I mean, Wellman apparently just made up his characters - they aren't part of established folklore tradition, I don't think...


message 15: by Kristen (new)

Kristen | 84 comments Cheryl in CC NV wrote: "It does look interesting. I wonder, though - are you looking for just good reads? Or did you want something more authentic or scholarly? I mean, Wellman apparently just made up his characters - ..."

Authenticity is good, but I suppose it isn't necessary. It's really the atmosphere that I'm looking for. Something really American :)


message 16: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl (cherylllr)


message 17: by D.M. (new)

D.M. Dutcher  | 340 comments Cheryl in CC NV wrote: "It does look interesting. I wonder, though - are you looking for just good reads? Or did you want something more authentic or scholarly? I mean, Wellman apparently just made up his characters - ..."

The ones that I mention I'm not sure. The behinder and the Hoop Snake (snake that eats its tail and chases people by rolling after them in a hoop) I heard of before ever reading Wellman-several books for kids just listed them as part of folklore. When I read his story "The Desrick on Yandro" I thought he was referring to actual myth. It's amazing if not, because they definitely feel like American myth.


message 18: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl (cherylllr) Thanks for clarifying, Dmdutcher, it does look like a great read!


message 19: by Beverly (last edited Aug 25, 2020 08:19PM) (new)

Beverly (bjbixlerhotmailcom) | 51 comments Ol' Paul, The Mighty Logger by Glen Rounds has 10 stories of Paul Bunyan
Steven Kellogg wrote several picture books about American folk heroes:
Paul Bunyan, a Tall Tale
Mike Fink: A Tall Tale
Pecos Bill: A Tall Tale
Johnny Appleseed: A Tall Tale
Sally Ann Thunder Ann Whirlwind Crockett: A Tall Tale
I Was Born About 10,000 Years Ago
A reader can check GoodReads by the name of each folk hero to find additional books.


message 20: by Pamela (new)

Pamela Love | 1077 comments Reader's Digest American Folklore and Legend by the Reader's Digest Association American Folklore and Legend

It has a bunch of tales that are obscure and left out of other collections.


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