12 Tall Tale Mini-Books - YES, WE LEARN!

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12 Tall TaleMini-Booksby Jeannette SandersonJohnny AppleseedFebold FeboldsonGib MorganNew York TorontoLondonPecos BillPaul BunyanJohn HenryMose HumphreysSam PatchSlue-Foot SueAucklandSydneyMexico CityNew Delhi12 Tall Tale Mini-Books Jeanette Sanderson, Scholastic Teaching ResourcesDavy CrockettJoe MagaracAlfred BulltopStormalongHong KongBuenos Aires

For Catie and Nolan—I didn’t lasso a cyclone,or jump Niagara Falls;I didn’t plant an orchard,or answer fire calls.I didn’t ride a catfish,or sail the ocean blue;instead I wrote this book,which I dedicate to you.AcknowledgmentI would also like to thank my editor,Sarah Longhi, who worked especially hardto make this the best book it could be.Scholastic Inc. grants teachers permission to photocopy the reproducible pages fromthis book for classroom use. No other part of this publication may be reproduced inwhole or in part, or stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or byany means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, withoutwritten permission of the publisher. For information regarding permission, write toScholastic Inc., 555 Broadway, New York, NY 10012.Cover design by Kelli ThompsonCover and interior illustrations by Margeaux LucasInterior design by Ellen Matlach Hassellfor Boultinghouse & Boultinghouse, Inc.ISBN: 0-439-30963-8Copyright 2002 by Jeannette SandersonAll rights reserved. Printed in the U.S.A.12 Tall Tale Mini-Books Jeanette Sanderson, Scholastic Teaching Resources

ContentsIntroductionAbout This Book . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4About Tall Tales and Suggested Reading . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5Background and Teaching Activities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6Mini-BooksJohnny Appleseed . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11Pecos Bill . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17Paul Bunyan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23Davy Crockett. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29Febold Feboldson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35John Henry . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41Mose Humphreys . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47Joe Magarac . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53Gib Morgan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59Sam Patch . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63Slue-Foot Sue and Pecos Bill . . . . . . . . . . . . 69Alfred Bulltop Stormalong . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7512 Tall Tale Mini-Books Jeanette Sanderson, Scholastic Teaching Resources

IntroductionAbout This BookThis collection of 12 mini-books will put some ofAmerica’s best-known and best-loved tall tales intoyour children’s hands, hearts, and memories. Easy tomake and easy to read, these books will bring historyand humor to all of your students, even those whoare not confident readers. Written in a comic-bookstyle, the illustrations, dialogue, and narrative text ofeach mini-book are inviting to readers of all levelsand interests.A brief overview of the tall tale genre and a list ofbooks for further reading is on page 5.Background information on each tall tale minibook is included on pages 6–10. This section willinclude the following features for each mini-book:Background This section gives the origin of each talltale. It tells whether the tall tale is based on fact or isentirely fictional. It also includes any backgroundinformation that might help students better understand the tall tale.Vocabulary Potentially difficult or unfamiliar wordsin each mini-book are highlighted here. You mightalso consider pronouncing names and locations forstudents before they begin reading.Teaching Activity An easy classroom activity for eachmini-book is included to help reinforce the lesson.How to Makethe Mini-Books1. Make double-sided photocopies of the mini-bookpages. (Carefully tear along the perforation toremove the pages from the book.) Most minibooks consist of 6 letter-sized pages; only the GibMorgan mini-book (pages 59–62) consists of 4.Note: If your machine does not have a doublesided function, first make copies of mini-bookpages 1/3. Place these copies in the paper traywith the blank side facing up. Next, make a copyof mini-book pages 2/4 so that page 2 copiesdirectly behind page 1 and page 4 copies directlybehind page 3. Make a test copy to be sure thepages are positioned correctly. Repeat these stepswith pages 5/7 and 6/8 and finally with 9/11 and10/12.Regardless of how you make the double-sidedcopies, you may need to experiment to be surethe pages are aligned properly, and that page 2appears directly behind page 1.2. Cut apart the mini-book pages along the dashedline.3. Place the pages in numerical order and then staple along the mini-book’s spine.4. Invite students to color the illustrations.seedppleAynJohnhis p ssion. .d huplanteone ofa mipleseed have eaten He was onnny Apmayes?ago, Joh ntier. Youple treny apyearsfroso maearlyndredTwo hu along the did he planteshytre1Wapplen it.knowevenplesas apmuch re themost ascued alm . He could re injured.ny lovmweed hitheyg Johnly thin And they lov them whenone.Thfiximalssick,was an ey werethwhenapple er.preds of tplantntiAnd stod hundd no ing tonew frou go.!reds an apples anI am. .gos by. over theHere yo those micehisd hundallsettleron.lp the dwest. seed plante ten one of on a missi treeschasingeasuld heplee Miy ApHe wahe woy haveer thall ov ago, Johnn er. You ma ple trees?5cidedstreesny deJohn ing apple ndred year early fronti so many apTwo hu along the did he plantspreadhytrees1applen it. Wnt.knowto plarsevenheotseds to s doned hi ingple se appleokabans ofanap uchtoaso. He em re his co lder.saundmemouyom? e, cureassot ssiHe wod. his shouont. thosntveatthdo almplany gaWhlovedjureovere dforesre inedve a mithulhatoHeJohn nywayoto co.inse sntuedmweofhihnsed n thsaeyckJot he lovheyand edad anhethingBu hed his3canoes his headpot on11 gestranwas aplacess bareois. Hesunny orchards. , and Illin k shirt, hi lled himrch forappler-sac.dianaey caI will seaI can plant Ohio, In s old suga d him. Th them awayhi9acrossgavewherefriendet hat,hebeveledg-pos andalikeny tra s cookindians apple seedJohnhiand Inwithedttlers . He plantsight5.But seedchardsfeet.pleseu?edthe orny ApyontayplaJohnlped inrepheweons.ca ar Hendreds .He alsHowand ye away hunt. treesyearsgave to plasn appleowhilked for trees.toHeothersappleve wahanytheirsd s gllplenthnedwineapWe Jo fall. reds of apple seto pla andookinnd ds of peopleo. He abhis co ulder.in thehuusreaneds for me towoho7h of se13 yourds from mayersthe seeShare so that othapples apple trees.plantm!nt theds! Pla ttyse seepreTake the bring you apples.They’ll ms and juicyblosso9edplant dss. Herehundd yeares.e awayears anl tre15 412 Tall Tale Mini-Books Jeanette Sanderson, Scholastic Teaching Resources11

About Tall TalesThe dictionary defines a tall tale as a story that isexaggerated and difficult to believe. Most fans of talltales would add that they’re just plain fun!Exaggerated storytelling has been around forever,though most of the tall tales retold in this book originated in America in the 1800s. They were born to satisfy two needs that people have always had but thatwere especially great in nineteenth-century America:the need for entertainment and the need for inspiration.In the 1800s, people didn’t have radios, televisions, and computers to provide entertainment towhile away the hours between work and sleep. One ofthe most popular ways to spend a long evening wastelling stories. Some of these stories started out astruth, some as pure fiction, but with many retellingsmost became taller and taller tales.While entertaining, many of these tall tales alsoprovided inspiration. The sailor setting out to sea, thepioneer setting out for distant lands, the freeman setting out to an unknown future—all these and moreneeded courage to help them face the challengesahead. In The Real Book of American Tall Tales,Michael Gorham writes that tall tales “tell . . . thatthere’s almost nothing a human being can’t do if hesets his mind to it.” These stories that showed whatextraordinary people could do also hinted at whatordinary people might accomplish.Most of these tall tales were first told orally andwere later written down; some originated in print. Weare lucky to have them today. Even in our fast-pacedworld with more entertainment options than theWest once had trees, tall tales can entertain—andinspire.Suggested ReadingFor students:Gorham, Michael. The Real Book of American TallTales. New York: Garden City Books, 1952.Lisker, Tom. Tall Tales: American Myths. New York:Contemporary Perspectives, 1991.Osborne, Mary Pope. American Tall Tales. New York:Knopf, 1991.San Souci, Robert D. Larger than Life: TheAdventures of American Legendary Heroes. NewYork: Doubleday, 1991.Stoutenburg, Adrien. American Tall Tales. New York:Viking, 1966.For teachers:Blair, Walter. Tall Tale America: A Legendary Historyof our Humorous Heroes. New York: Coward,McCann & Geoghegan, 1944.Botkin, B. A. A Treasury of American Folklore. NewYork: Crown, 1944.Brown, Carolyn S. The Tall Tale in American Folkloreand Literature. Knoxville: University of TennesseePress, 1987.Coffin, Tristram Potter, and Hennig Cohen. TheParade of Heroes: Legendary Figures in AmericanLore. New York: Doubleday, 1978.Dorson, Richard M. America in Legend: Folklorefrom the Colonial Period to the Present. New York:Pantheon, 1973.Dorson, Richard M. Man and Beast in AmericanComic Legend. Bloomington: Indiana UniversityPress, 1982.Haviland, Virginia. North American Legends. London:William Collins, 1979.The Life Treasury of American Folklore. New York:Time, Inc., 1961.Malcolmson, Anne. Yankee Doodle’s Cousins. Boston:Houghton Mifflin, 1941.Shay, Frank. Here’s Audacity. New York: Macaulay,1930.12 Tall Tale Mini-Books Jeanette Sanderson, Scholastic Teaching Resources5

Background and Teaching ActivitiesJohnny AppleseedBackground This tall tale is based on the life of anactual person, John Chapman, an American pioneerwho planted apple orchards in the wildernesses ofOhio, Indiana, and Illinois. Chapman was born inMassachusetts about 1775, moved to the Ohio RiverValley as a young man, and for nearly 50 years traveled alone, planting apple orchards as the settlersmoved westward. When he died in 1845, General SamHouston spoke about him before Congress: “Farewell,dear old eccentric heart,” he said. “Your labor hasbeen a labor of love, and generations yet unborn willrise up and call you blessed.”While Chapman was a real person, many of thetales told about him are purely fictional. These talesbegan to be widely circulated after an 1871 articleabout him, “Johnny Appleseed, a Pioneer Hero,”appeared in Harper’s New Monthly Magazine.Vocabularyfrontier: the far edge of a country, where few people livemission: a special job or taskActivity You can help students grow their own appletrees. Cut several apples in half crosswise, so that thestem is on one half. Take the seeds out of the applecore and put them in a cup of sand or dirt. Put thecup in the freezer for one month to trick the seedsinto thinking it’s winter. At the end of the month,take the seeds out of the cup and plant them in aflowerpot filled with soil. Place the pot in a sunnyspot, water the seeds regularly, and watch them beginto sprout. When the seedlings are big enough, youcan transplant them outdoors. Plant two near eachother, as a lone apple tree won’t bear fruit. Tell students to be patient, though: It takes many years forapples to grow on the trees.Pecos BillBackground Pecos (pronounced PAY-kuhs or PAYkohs) Bill is a purely fictitious character. The story ofthis legendary American cowboy started with a magazine article written by American journalist EdwardO’Reilly in 1923 in Century Magazine. The author6patterned Bill after Paul Bunyan, Davy Crockett, andother legendary heroes. While O’Reilly had Bill beingraised by coyotes, riding an Oklahoma cyclone, andinventing many cowboy skills, the legend did not endwith him. After the story was written, many othersadded their own twists to it. Pecos Bill has sincebecome the subject of books, articles, poems, recordings, and plays.Vocabularybleak: without hopebrand: to burn a mark on an animal’s skin to show that theanimal belongs to youcorral: a fenced area that holds horses, cattle, or otheranimalscyclone: a storm with very strong, destructive winds that blowaround a quiet center; a tornadodrought: a long spell of very dry weatherlasso: a length of rope with a large loop at one end that canbe thrown over an animal to catch itpasture: grazing land for animalsrope: to catch with a lasso or a ropevarmint: an undesirable animalActivity Ask students to make a baseball-like trading card for Pecos Bill, with his picture on one sideand what they believe is the most important information about him on the other side.Paul BunyanBackground No one knows how the legend of PaulBunyan began, but the public first heard about thismythical lumberjack in 1910, when he was mentioned in a Detroit newspaper story by JamesMacGillivray. MacGillivray may have heard PaulBunyan stories from lumberjacks, many of whomwere French-Canadian and may have been embellishing French folktales of giants. When the Red RiverLumber Company of Minneapolis began using PaulBunyan in the company’s advertising in 1914, the folkhero earned his place in American history. Since thattime, Paul Bunyan has been the subject of stories,books, plays, and even ballets and operas.To help students understand the context of thistall tale, tell them that the legend of Paul Bunyanbegan in the late nineteenth and early twentieth12 Tall Tale Mini-Books Jeanette Sanderson, Scholastic Teaching Resources

centuries, when the United States was younger. Atthat time, forests covered most of the northernUnited States, from Maine to California. Lumberjackscut down billions of trees to make lumber for houses,barns, churches, town halls, schools, bridges, wagons,and ships, among other things. They also cleared theland to make room for farms and villages. It was atime when little or no thought was given to conservation of forestland.Vocabularybellow: to shout or roarburlap: a tough, course material used to make bags that willhold heavy objectshotcakes: pancakeslog: to cut down treeslumberjack: someone whose job is to cut down trees and getthe logs to a sawmillsawmill: a place where people use machines to saw logs intolumbertimberland: wooded landActivity Ask students to choose a scene from thetall tale to illustrate as if for a newspaper of the day,and to write a caption to go with it.Davy CrockettBackground Davy Crockett, a real person, was bornin the mountains of Tennessee in 1786. Like otherfrontiersmen of his day, Davy spent most of his timehunting, trapping, clearing land, and building homesteads. He was a U.S. Army scout and fought in theCreek Indian War. Davy became a local politician andeventually went on to serve several terms in the U.S.House of Representatives. When Davy lost his reelection bid in 1835, he decided to move to Texas for afresh start. He died at the Alamo in 1836, fighting tohelp Texas win its independence from Mexico.While Davy Crockett was real, most of the legendstold about him are pure fiction. Davy was the originator of some of these tall tales. The man was an expertat a type of country exaggeration called “backwoodsbrag.” One of his own tall tales was that a raccoon,aware of his skill with a gun, surrendered to Davy oneday when the frontiersman was hunting. After Davydied, several books were published that told otherexaggerated stories of the frontiersman’s early life.These “Davy Crockett Almanacks” were just thebeginning: In the nearly 200 years since his death,Davy Crockett has been the subject of countlesssongs, books, plays, television shows, and movies.Vocabularycomet: a bright heavenly body with a long tail of lightcrisis: a time of danger and difficultydouble-barreled shotgun: a shotgun that has two barrels, ortubes, from which bullets are dischargedfrontiersman: someone who lives on the far edge of thecountry, where few others livesmithereens: bits, piecesActivity Tell students that Davy Crockett createdsome of his own tall tales when he engaged in “backwoods brag,” a type of country exaggeration. Ask students to think of something they’ve done andexaggerate it into their own tall tales. Have studentswrite, illustrate, and share their tall tales.Febold FeboldsonBackground This tall tale of a giant Swedish pioneerin the Great Plains is based on a character whosename first appeared in print in 1923 in theGothenburg, Nebraska, newspaper the Independent.Later stories about Febold were published in theGothenburg Times from 1928 to 1933. The storieshave been collected and retold many times since.Where did Febold come from? Nebraska lumberdealer Wayne Carroll is credited with inventingFebold, though the tall tale character may be basedon an actual Swedish pioneer of the 1800s. Real ornot, Febold’s tale echoes the stories of many actualpioneers, people who tried to make a life for themselves farming a land where drought, dust storms,grasshoppers, and extremes of hot and cold were alltoo common. These people had to learn new ways todo things to survive life on the Great Plains. Feboldwas the kind of hero who used his brain, and occasionally his brawn, to face down the elements.Vocabularydrought: a long spell of very dry weathergizzards: innardsirrigation: system of supplying water to crops by artificialmeans, such as channels and pipesvaporized: turned into fine particles of mist, steam, or smokevarnished: given a clear coating to protect and finish; usuallydone on wood12 Tall Tale Mini-Books Jeanette Sanderson, Scholastic Teaching Resources7

Activity Divide the class into pairs. Ask each pair towrite and then illustrate a two-page insert for themini-book. The spread should show how the studentsimagine Febold Feboldson would have coped withanother challenge—a dust storm, extreme hot orcold, or any other natural disaster—he might havefaced on the Great Plains. Share these spreads withthe class and compile them to make a sequel minibook, Further Adventures of Febold Feboldson.John HenryBackground According to some historians, this talltale is based on an actual event involving an AfricanAmerican steel driver named John Henry. The contestthat culminates the tale is said to have taken place inthe 1870s, during the excavation of Big Bend Tunnelfor the Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad in West Virginia.The tunnel had to be blasted right through a mountain. This is how it was done: Steel drivers like JohnHenry hammered steel drills into the solid rock of themountain. The holes made by these drills were thenfilled with explosives to blast away the rock for thetunnel.According to a ballad based on the event, when aman brought a new steam drill to the site, claiming itcould drill faster then a whole crew of men, JohnHenry stepped up and agreed to race the steam drill,to prove that man was mightier than machine. Inthe ballad, John Henry wins the race but dies ofexhaustion.After the actual event, the story took on a life ofits own. Ballads, songs, and stories were written andsung about the man who first stood up to a machine.John Henry has been a hero to African Americans andall laborers ever since.Vocabularysteel driver: a man who uses a hammer to drill steel spikesinto solid rockActivity Tell students that just as John Henry did inthe tall tale, most railroad workers sang work songsto help them get through the day. Most of these wereshort and repetitive, with pauses in between for thestroke of a pick or hammer. Ask students to writetheir own work song, either for a railroad worker orfor themselves, to help them get through chores theyhave to do at school or at home. Encourage studentsto share these songs with their classmates.8Mose HumphreysBackground Mose Humphreys, Amer

A Treasury of American Folklore.New York: Crown, 1944. Brown, Carolyn S. The Tall Tale in American Folklore and Literature.Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1987. Coffin, Tristram Potter, and Hennig Cohen. The Parade of Heroes: Legendary Figures in American Lore. New York: Doubleday, 1978. Dorson, Richard M.America in Legend: Folklore

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