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Tall Tales Print Page

John Henry

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Ain't Nothing but a Man - Scott Reynolds Nelson; Marc Aronson
ISBN: 142630000X
Publication Date: 2007-12-26
Who was the real John Henry? The story of this legendary African-American figure has come down to us in so many songs, stories, and plays, that the facts are often lost. Historian Scott Nelson brings John Henry alive for young readers in his personal quest for the "true story" of the man behind the myth. Nelson presents the famous folk song as a mystery to be unraveled, identifying the embedded clues within the lyrics, which he examines to uncover many surprising truths. He investigates the legend and reveals the real John Henry in this beautifully illustrated book. Nelson's narrative is multilayered, interweaving the story of the building of the railroads, the period of Reconstruction, folk tales, American mythology, and an exploration of the tradition of work songs and their evolution into blues and rock and roll. This is also the story of the author's search for the flesh-and-blood man who became an American folk hero; Nelson gives a first-person account of how the historian works, showing history as a process of discovery. Readers rediscover an African-American folk hero. We meet John Henry, the man who worked for the railroad, driving steel spikes. When the railroad threatens to replace workers with a steam-powered hammer, John Henry bets that he can drive the beams into the ground faster than the machine. He wins the contest, but dies in the effort. Nelson's vibrant text, combined with archival images, brings a new perspective and focus to the life and times of this American legend.

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John Henry - Ezra Jack Keats (Illustrator); Anne Schwartz (Editor)
ISBN: 0394890523
Publication Date: 1987-05-12
Illus. in full color. The Caldecott Medalist's powerful classic is now reissued in a handsome paperback edition, as well as a library edition.

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John Henry - Julius Lester; Jerry Pinkney (Illustrator)
ISBN: 0803716060
Publication Date: 1994-10-01
Nothing can stop John Henry-no boulder, no mountain, and definitely no steam drill.  Newbery Honor winner Julius Lester writes with such power that this African-American folk hero becomes as awesome as a natural phenomenon.  Jerry Pinkney received a Caldecott Honor for his exuberant, glowing watercolor paintings of the hero.  The book, celebrating its tenth year in print, was also a Boston Globe-Horn Book Award winner, a Parents magazine Best Book, and an ALA Notable Book, among other honors.

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Great American Folklore - Kemp Plummer Battle; Lois Battle
ISBN: 0385185553
Publication Date: 1986-05-06


Davy Crockett

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David Crockett - Mary Dodson Wade; Pat Finney
ISBN: 0585162778
Publication Date: 1992-01-01

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Davy Crockett - Tom Townsend
ISBN: 0585237409
Publication Date: 1987-01-01
Follows the life of the renowned pioneer, with an emphasis on his experiences on the American frontier in the early nineteenth century.

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Davy Crockett - George Edward Stanley
ISBN: 140275499X
Publication Date: 2008-08-05
Davy Crockett was a child of the frontier, where violence and danger were everywhere. A hunter, soldier, and backwoods politician, he helped settle large swaths of the still-growing United States. In the process, he became an American legend, with his life and exploits dramatized--and often fictionalized--in film and TV. Renowned author George Edward Stanley tells the true story: his difficult childhood; his time in the militia fighting the Indians and the British; his decision to become a Justice of the Peace and eventually run for the Tennessee State Legislature; and his final stand, and death, at the famous battle of the Alamo.

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King of the Wild Frontier - Davy Crockett
ISBN: 048647691X
Publication Date: 2010-06-17
This easy-reading autobiography established Davy Crockett as a larger-than-life American hero and introduced tall tales of the frontier to a popular audience. Written in 1834, two years before the legendary Tennessean met his fate at the Alamo, it begins during Crockett's early childhood and concludes just before his entry to the U.S. Congress.  Even in his youth, Crockett "always delighted to be in the very thickest of danger." In his own words, he paints a vivid portrait of wilderness life, recapturing its struggles and rewards. Crockett tells of his two marriages, his fights with Indians, and the start of his political career. Famous as a "bar" hunter, he was already a folk hero before this memoir's publication. Readers of all ages will thrill to his captivating tales from the vanished world of American frontier life.  

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A Picture Book of Davy Crockett - David A. Adler; John Wallner (Illustrator); Alexandra Wallner (Illustrator)
ISBN: 0823412121
Publication Date: 1996-03-15
Davy Crockett was born on August 17, 1786 in a backwoods cabin in eastern Tennessee. At age twelve, David learned how to shoot a rifle. When he grew up, he won most of the shooting matches he entered and became a well-known storyteller. No matter where he lived, he was popular. He was elected to three terms in the House of Representatives. After being defeated in the congressional election of 1835, he was ready for new adventure. He rode to Texas, where he fought and died in the Battle of the Alamo.


Paul Bunyan and Babe

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Paul Bunyan - Daniel G. Hoffman
ISBN: 058518819X
Publication Date: 1999-01-01
Paul Bunyan is the giant of American folklore, so huge that several states claim him as their own--some say he was born in Michigan, others claim Minnesota, still others, Maine. Daniel Hoffman's Paul Bunyan shows that the hero's origins are more surprising still. More than another recounting of Paul Bunyan's adventures, this book is a classic of American folklore. First published in 1949, this new edition traces the clues of origin to turn-of-the-century logging camps, to the sparse record of actual folktales, and then to the ways these yarns were repeated, revised, simplified, or distorted.

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Paul Bunyan - Steven Kellogg (Illustrator)
ISBN: 0688058000
Publication Date: 2004-02-03
Who was the largest baby ever born in the state of Maine? Who dug the Great Lakes? Who gouged out the Grand Canyon? Why, Paul Bunyan, of course, America's finest, fastest, funniest lumberman and favorite tall-tale hero.

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Great American Folklore - Kemp Plummer Battle; Lois Battle
ISBN: 0385185553
Publication Date: 1986-05-06


Pecos Bill

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Pecos Bill - Steven Kellogg (Illustrator); Laura Robb (Illustrator)
ISBN: 068805871X
Publication Date: 1986-08-15
The anecdotes associated with Texas' fabled cowboy hero burst from the pages in rapid succession, Kellogg's robust illustrations enlarging and enriching the energetic text.--School Library Journal.


Brer Fox/Brer Rabbit

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Further Tales of Uncle Remus - Julius Lester; Phyllis J. Fogelman (Editor); Jerry Pinkney (Illustrator)
ISBN: 0803706103
Publication Date: 1990-05-14
A retelling of the classic Afro-American tales relating the adventures and misadventures of Brer Rabbit and his friends and enemies.

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Jump on Over! - Joel Chandler Harris; Barry Moser (Illustrator)
ISBN: 0152017070
Publication Date: 1998-04-01
A collection of five stories from the Brer Rabbit folktales. Retold and illustrated with watercolour illustrations by Barry Moser.

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The Last Tales of Uncle Remus - Julius Lester; Jerry Pinkney (Illustrator)
ISBN: 0803713037
Publication Date: 1994-01-01
With his boisterous friends and rowdy enemies, Brer Rabbit is on the road to adventure. He gets a job and figures out how to get paid--twice a day! Times may change, but Brer Rabbit is forever! 32 illustrations, 8 in full color.


Johnny Appleseed

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Johnny Appleseed and the American Orchard - William Kerrigan
ISBN: 1421407299
Publication Date: 2012-10-02
Johnny Appleseed and the American Orchard illuminates the meaning of Johnny "Appleseed" Chapman's life and the environmental and cultural significance of the plant he propagated. Creating a startling new portrait of the eccentric apple tree planter, William Kerrigan carefully dissects the oral tradition of the Appleseed myth and draws upon material from archives and local historical societies across New England and the Midwest. The character of Johnny Appleseed stands apart from other frontier heroes like Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone, who employed violence against Native Americans and nature to remake the West. His apple trees, nonetheless, were a central part of the agro-ecological revolution at the heart of that transformation. Yet men like Chapman, who planted trees from seed rather than grafting, ultimately came under assault from agricultural reformers who promoted commercial fruit stock and were determined to extend national markets into the West. Over the course of his life John Chapman was transformed from a colporteur of a new ecological world to a curious relic of a pre-market one. Weaving together the stories of the Old World apple in America and the life and myth of John Chapman, Johnny Appleseed and the American Orchard casts new light on both.

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Johnny Appleseed - Steven Kellogg (Illustrator)
ISBN: 0688064175
Publication Date: 1988-08-22
In this glorious Tall Tales picture book, revered children's book illustrator Kellogg brings one of America's legendary heroes--and the stories that have surrounded him--to life. Full color.

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Great American Folklore - Kemp Plummer Battle; Lois Battle
ISBN: 0385185553
Publication Date: 1986-05-06


Yankee Doodle

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Yankee Doodle - Steven Kellogg (Illustrator)
ISBN: 0689807260
Publication Date: 1996-06-01
In a large format, the words of this song are illustrated, with background notes on its origin.

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Great American Folklore - Kemp Plummer Battle; Lois Battle
ISBN: 0385185553
Publication Date: 1986-05-06

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The Folk Songs of North America - Alan Lomax (Compiled by); Shirley Collins (Editor); Michael Leonard (Illustrator); Matyas Seiber; Don Banks; Peggy Seeger
ISBN: 0385048440
Publication Date: 1960-06-01
An excellent introduction to American folk songs with music and lyrics given for more than 300 of them.

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Hillbilly - Anthony Harkins
ISBN: 019514631X
Publication Date: 2003-11-20
In this pioneering work of cultural history, historian Anthony Harkins argues that the hillbilly-in his various guises of "briar hopper," "brush ape," "ridge runner," and "white trash"-has been viewed by mainstream Americans simultaneously as a violent degenerate who threatens the modern order and as a keeper of traditional values of family, home, and physical production, and thus symbolic of a nostalgic past free of the problems of contemporary life. "Hillbilly" signifies both rugged individualism and stubborn backwardness, strong family and kin networks but also inbreeding and bloody feuds. Spanning film, literature, and the entire expanse of American popular culture, from D. W. Griffith to hillbilly music to the Internet, Harkins illustrates how the image of the hillbilly has consistently served as both a marker of social derision and regional pride. He traces the corresponding changes in representations of the hillbilly from late-nineteenth century America, through the great Depression, the mass migrations of Southern Appalachians in the 1940s and 1950s, the War on Poverty in the mid 1960s, and to the present day. Harkins also argues that images of hillbillies have played a critical role in the construction of whiteness and modernity in twentieth century America. Richly illustrated with dozens of photographs, drawings, and film and television stills, this unique book stands as a testament to the enduring place of the hillbilly in the American imagination.


Ethan Allen and the Green Mountain Boys


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