Appalachian Folktales in Children's Literature and Collections for All Ages

By Tina L. Hanlon
Assisted by Judy A. Teaford and others
Compiled 1993-2013

AppLit Folktale Bibliography Index
Picture Books Annotated Index of Tales by Title
Appalachian Folktale Collections A-J  / K-Z Appalachian Folktales in General Collections, Journals, Web Sites
Film and Dramatic Adaptations Storytelling Films and Recordings
Strong Women in Appalachian Folktales Folktales Reprinted in AppLit

Background Resources

Folklore Themes in Longer Appalachian Fiction

Supernatural Tales from the Appalachian Mountains Richard Chase Bibliography
West Virginia's Appalachian Music and Literature - teaching unit with text and audio files of folktales and songs, lists of resources Ray and Orville Hicks, Storytellers of North Carolina
Timeline of Appalachian Folktales Folktale Collections Indexed in AppLit
Feminist Collections of Folktales Some Folktales from Outside Appalachia
Complete List of AppLit Pages on Folklore Links to Other Online Texts
Wonder Tales in Appalachia - essay by Grace Toney Edwards
Study Guides and Activities for Teaching Folktales and Dramatizations
Lesson Plans and Resources for Teaching Contemporary American Picture Books to Older Students

Appalachian Folktales and Folk Songs in Picture Books

General List Jack Tales Cherokee Tales Tall Tales
Complete List of AppLit Pages on Picture Books
Animal Tales Index (not just picture books)

Notes:  Many titles below contain direct links to the Annotated Index of Appalachian Folktales. Beginning in summer 2001, more details are being added to those annotations than to entries on this page. However, some entries below are based on folk songs or tales not grouped with others in the Annotated Index. Picture books with Jack Tales, Tall Tales, and Cherokee Tales are now compiled on separate pages, but they are cross-listed briefly below to keep the general list as complete as possible. Please contact Tina Hanlon if you know of other items that should be added to these bibliographies, or to contribute corrections or notes on any Appalachian folk narratives or children's books.

Some links on these pages are to author pages and related materials outside AppLit. Links for many of the people who created these picture books are also given in Background Resources on One Author, Illustrator, Storyteller, Dramatist, or Filmmaker.

The term folktale is used very broadly on these pages to include many kinds of folklore retellings or adaptations in books, recordings, dramas, and films. We are in the process of adding more material in AppLit on folk narratives from songs and ballads. Some Cherokee tales listed in AppLit are retellings from outside southern Appalachia, usually by descendants of Eastern Cherokees. For other folktales and songs, it is our intention to list those that came from southern Appalachia, whether the authors and illustrators are natives or residents of Appalachia or not. A few exceptions are noted, but folk narratives that come from other particular cultures or regions are generally not listed here, although many parallel tales and other stories by some Appalachian authors and storytellers are listed on other AppLit pages (including Some Folktales from Outside Appalachia).

Realistic Appalachian Picture Books, concept books, and fantasy picture books that are not folktale retellings are in a separate bibliography. Many of the picture books in these folktale bibliographies are not "true picture books," with fully interdependent text and art, but illustrated stories from folklore. A few of the books listed below have several tales or chapters with frequent illustrations, but these and other books with multiple tales are also listed in AppLit's bibliographies of folktale collections (see links at top of this page).

      Folk Narratives in Picture Books - General List      

By Author:  A–B  |  D  |  E-F  |  G–H  |   I–J  |  K–L  |  M–N  |  O–P  |  Q–R  |  S  |  T-V | W–Z
indicates stories focusing on strong female characters

A-B

Airich, Rinz. Fearless Jack. Kuala Lumpur: Dilto Book Centre, 2004. 16 pp. I haven't found any indication of whether this is definitely an illustrated book, but see Jack Tale Picture Books

Arneach, Lloyd. The Animal's Ballgame - see Cherokee Picture Books

Birdseye, Tom. Look Out, Jack!  The Giant is Back!  - see Jack Tale Picture Books

Birdseye, TomA Regular Flood Of Mishap. Illus. Megan Lloyd. New York: Holiday House, 1994. This comic family story has some folktale and tall tale elements. Ima Bean reels in a giant catfish with Grandpaw's fishing line, beginning a sequence of mishaps that makes a mess at her Mossyrock Creek home. In spite of a broken fishing pole, an escaped mule, a torn clothesline, a broken bicycle, and flying vegetables, her forgiving family keeps her from running away. Ima's siblings are named Chili Bean and Pinto Bean. Birdseye got his idea for the story when his three-year-old daughter made a mess trying to bake bread for the family alone. More background and two illustrations at www.tombirdseye.com

Birdseye, Tom (reteller). Soap! Soap! Don't Forget the Soap!: An Appalachian Folktale Illus. Andrew Glass.New York: Holiday House, 1993.A comical tale of a forgetful boy who gets confused about his errand when he repeats what each person along the road says to him. Several unpublished versions of this tale can be found in the James Taylor Adams collection in the Blue Ridge Institute.

Birdseye, Tom and Debbie. She'll Be Comin' Round the Mountain. Illus. Andrew Glass. New York:  Holiday House, 1994. When Birdseye's family sang this folk song during a visit from his daughter's playmate, they got the idea that it is about old friends getting together. The comical illustrations for this combination of song lyrics and story depict Tootie arriving to visit the Sweet family. Birdseye's version of the song with music and his new lyrics about Tootie are given after the story. More background and two illustrations at www.tombirdseye.com

Note: The Cherokee Indian Legend Series by Wade Blevins (of Cherokee Irish descent from Northeast Oklahoma) are short books with drawings every 3-5 pages. His great-grandmother passed on the stories of their culture.

Blevins, Wade. And Then the Feather Fell. Cherokee Indian Legend Series. Redfield, AR: Ozark Publishing, 1992 - see Cherokee Picture Books 

Blevins, Wade. A-ta-ga-hi's Gift. Cherokee Indian Legend Series. Ozark Publishing, 1996 - see Cherokee Picture Books

Blevins, Wade. Ganseti and the Legend of the Little People. Cherokee Indian Legend Series. Ozark Publishing, 1996. - see Cherokee Picture Books

Blevins, Wade. Legend of Little Deer. Cherokee Indian Legend Series. Ozark Publishing, 1996 - see Cherokee Picture Books

Blevins, Wade. Path of Destiny. Cherokee Indian Legend Series. Ozark Publishing, 1996 - see Cherokee Picture Books 

Blevins, Wade. Se-lu's Song. Cherokee Indian Legend Series. Ozark Publishing, 1994 - see Cherokee Picture Books 

Blevins, Wade. The Wisdom Circle. Cherokee Indian Legend Series. Ozark Publishing, 1996 - see Cherokee Picture Books 

Bruchac, Joseph and Anna Vojtech. The First Strawberries - see Cherokee Picture Books

Bruchac, Joseph and James. How Chipmunk Got His Stripes - see Cherokee Picture Books

Bruchac, Joseph and Gayle Ross. The Story of the Milky Way - see Cherokee Picture Books 

Bushyhead, Jean L., Robert H. Bushyhead, and Kay T. Bannon. Yonder Mountain: A Cherokee Legend. Illus. Kristina Rodanas. Marshall Cavendish, 2002 - see Cherokee Picture Books

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Carmer, Elizabeth and Carl. Tony Beaver, Griddle Skater - see Tall Tales

Calhoun, Mary. Old Man Whickutt's Donkey. Illus. Tomie De Paola. New York: Parents' Magazine Press, 1975. "In this retelling of La Fontaine's fable, a man, a boy, and a donkey, enroute to the miller with a sack of corn, are criticized by their neighbors no matter who walks and who rides." Set in Appalachia.

Caudill, Rebecca, and James Ayars. Contrary Jenkins. Illus. Glen Rounds New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1969. There are tall tale elements in the humorous story of a bachelor who gets in trouble living by the "law of contrary" in Tennessee. He does the opposite of whatever is suggested. "He was so contrary that folks forgot his real name. They called him Contrary Jenkins." When he kills a buffalo and wraps himself in its hide to keep warm, it freezes around him by morning. When his friends propose building a fire to thaw it, he says he'll stay because it's warm inside the frozen hide. When he goes to Arkansas hunting for seven years, the widow he was to marry marries someone else, so he goes back again to Arkansas and may still be there acting contrary.

Chase, Richard. Billy Boy. Illus. Glen Rounds. San Carlos, Calif.: Golden Gate Junior Books, 1966. A picture book adaptation of the folk song about Billy reporting to his mother on the qualities of the wife he has just found. Music is given at the end. Chase observed in letters and lectures that this song is said to be "a parody of an old miserable murder ballad" from England, "Lord Randall" (see a version in AppLit at this link). Chase sang verses he collected from children that are not in print, such as "She can wear a wedding gown/But she wears it upside down./She can fix a wedding cake/That will give you the belly ache" (from audio cassette of a 1975 visit to a class). In a letter dated 4/25/68, Chase wrote, "I got $400 royalties from that disgraceful 'hillbilly' Billy Boy," and as others have noted, Chase did not like the illustrations published with his song. (Letter and cassette are in Richard Chase Papers 1928-1988, W. L. Eury Appalachian Collection, Appalachian State University.) Other versions of lyrics to this song are available at The Bluegrass Messengers Fiddle and Instrumental Tunes. Only positive attributes of the young woman are described in the Appalachian version in Kidd, Ronald (comp.), On Top of Old Smoky–see Appalachian Folktale Collections.

Chase, Richard. Jack and the Three Sillies - see Jack Tale Picture Books

Chase, Richard. Wicked John and the Devil. Illus. Joshua Tolford. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1951. Black and white and color illustrations depict the red devils outwitted by a blacksmith so mean that he is denied access to heaven and hell when he dies. (See Woolridge, Wicked Jack below.) "Based on an oral version I first heard told by Mrs. Jenning L. Yowell of Albemarle County, Virginia" (Chase).

Cheek, Pauline. Appalachian Scrapbook: An A-B-C of Growing Up in the Mountains. Johnson City, Tenn.: Overmountain Press, 1988. 161 pp. The text, in the voice of a child from Madison County, NC, is longer than a picture book or traditional alphabet book, but it includes many pencil drawings and references to folktales and legends, along with many other Appalachian traditions, historical references, and natural features. Examples: B is for ballads; J is for Jonesborough, its storytelling festival, and Jack tales, with an illustrated retelling of "Jack and the Newground"; L is for legend, with a retelling of the Cherokee legend about the Milky Way; M is for moonshine, with a yarn about curing a cow with moonshine; U is for "Unto These Hills" (Cherokee drama); X for "x marks the spot" includes a number of superstitions and a story told by fiddler Roy Sharp at the Lunsford Festival, about getting incredible fiddling skill from an encounter with the devil at a crossroads. See also writings by and about Pauline Cheek, including an alphabet she helped children write in Harlan County, KY in Now and Then, vol. 4.1 (Spring 1987). Special issue on Appalachian childhood.  ERIC, no. ED310896

Cohlene, Terri. Dancing Drum: A Cherokee Legend. Illus. Charles Reasoner. Native American Legends Series. Vero Beach, FL: Watermill Press, 1990 - see Cherokee Picture Books 

Compton, Joanne. Ashpet: An Appalachian Tale. Illus. Kenn Compton. New York: Holiday House, 1994. The well-written text uses dialect effectively and draws attention to stories spreading across the mountains in the end, but Kenn Compton's cartoonlike illustrations make the lively, humorous, and romantic features of this Appalachian Cinderella story appear too ridiculous or stereotypical for some readers. 

Compton, Joanne and Kenn. Jack the Giant Chaser - see Jack Tale Picture Books

Compton, Joanne and Kenn. Sody Sallyratus. New York: Holiday House, 1995. See also Terri Sloat's version, which has more appealing illustrations.

Credle, Ellis. Big Fraid, Little Fraid.New York: Dutton, 1964. A humorous and scary tale, Credle's favorite one that she heard from her great-uncle in childhood on the plantations of lowland coastal North Carolina. (Credle later taught in the Blue Ridge mountains, where some of her novels and realistic picture books are set.) See short review by Volkert Volkersz. Although Ellis's story is not Appalachian, Leonard Roberts, who heard it in his boyhood in eastern Kentucky, published a very similar KY version with a father who gets scared himself when he and a monkey disguised in sheets try to scare his son, who can not be scared. (See South from Hell-fer-Sartin on Collections page.) The Postscript tells how Credle changed the father to a brother, and used examples of other pranks that were common in colonial times (even in George Washington's family). It also describes Southern superstitions and beliefs in ha'nts in Credle's great-grandfather's time, but the four-year-old child Chub in the story is the least fearful in the family.

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Davis, Aubrey. Sody Salleratus. Illus. Alan and Lea Daniel. Toronto: Kids Can Press, 1996. Davis’s dedication reads, “To Richard Chase, and to the students of the Metropolitan Toronto School Board, who taught me how to tell this tale” (title page). Page on Canadian storyteller/author Aubrey Davis.

Davis, Donald. Jack and the Animals - see Jack Tale Picture Books

Davis, Donald. The Pig Who Went Home on Sunday: An Appalachian Folktale. Illus. Jennifer Mazzucco. Little Rock: August House, 2004. The Appalachian red fox is the villain. See details and cover at AugustHouse.com. See Hooks, below, for other tales on three little pigs.

De Las Casas, Dianne. Beware, Beware of the Big Bad Bear! Illus. Marita Gentry. Gretna, LA: Pelican Pub., 2012. "When one after another family member goes the store for baking soda and never returns, the pet squirrel decides to investigate in this retelling of a traditional Appalachian tale [Sody Sallyratus]. Includes a recipe for soda biscuits."

De Lint, Charles. A Circle of Cats. Illus. Charles Vess. Viking Juvenile, 2003. 44 pp. Although this fantasy story (expanded later into the 2013 novel The Cats of Tanglewood Forest) is associated with the imaginary modern world that de Lint depicts in other books, Newford, the setting of these stories, and especially the illustrations, are deeply influenced by the mountain landscape and culture that surround Vess in his Abingdon, Virginia home. "Lillian is an orphan who lives with her aunt on a homestead miles from anyone, surrounded by uncharted forest. She wanders the woods, chasing squirrels and rabbits and climbing trees. Free-spirited and independent Lillian is a kindred spirit to the many wild cats who gather around the ancient beech tree. One day, while she is under the beech, Lillian is bitten by a poisonous snake. The cats refuse to let her die, and use their magic to turn her into one of their own. How she becomes a girl again is a lyrical, original folktale" (from author's web site). strong female character

Dominic, Gloria. First Woman and the Strawberry - see Cherokee Picture Books

Duvall, Deborah LGreat Ball Game of the Birds and Animals. Illus. Murv Jacob. Grandmother Stories Series. Albuquerque: Univ. of New Mexico Press, 2002 - see Cherokee Picture Books

Duvall, Deborah LHow Medicine Came to the People: A Tale of the Ancient Cherokees. Illus. Murv Jacob. Grandmother Stories Series. Albuquerque: Univ. of New Mexico Press, 2003 - see Cherokee Picture Books

Duvall, Deborah L. How Rabbit Lost his Tail: A Traditional Cherokee Legend. Illus. Murv Jacob. Grandmother Stories Series. Albuquerque: Univ. of New Mexico Press, 2003 - see Cherokee Picture Books

Duvall, Deborah LThe Opossum's Tail. Illus. Murv Jacob. Grandmother Stories Series. Albuquerque: Univ. of New Mexico Press, 2005. 32 pp.- see Cherokee Picture Books

Duvall, Deborah L. Rabbit and the Bears: A Grandmother Story. Illus. Murv Jacob. Grandmother Stories Series. Albuquerque: Univ. of New Mexico Press, 2004 - see Cherokee Picture Books.

Duvall, Deborah LRabbit and the Fingerbone Necklace. Illus. Murv Jacob. Grandmother Stories Series. Albuquerque: Univ. of New Mexico Press, 2009. 32 pp. - see Cherokee Picture Books

Duvall, Deborah LRabbit and the Well. Illus. Murv Jacob. Albuquerque: Univ. of New Mexico Press, 2007. 32 pp. - see Cherokee Picture Books

Duvall, Deborah LRabbit and the Wolves. Illus. Murv Jacob. Grandmother Stories Series. Albuquerque: Univ. of New Mexico Press, 2005. 32 pp. - see Cherokee Picture Books

Duvall, Deborah LRabbit Goes Duck Hunting. Illus. Murv Jacob. Grandmother Stories Series. Albuquerque: Univ. of New Mexico Press, 2005. 32 pp. - see Cherokee Picture Books

Duvall, Deborah LRabbit Goes to Kansas. Illus. Murv Jacob. Grandmother Stories Series. Albuquerque: Univ. of New Mexico Press, 2007. 32 pp.- see Cherokee Picture Books 

Duvall, Deborah LRabbit Plants the Forest. Illus. Murv Jacob. Cherokee World Series. Albuquerque: Univ. of New Mexico Press, 2006. 32 pp. - see Cherokee Picture Books

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Ernesto, Lilly. How Grandmother Spider Got the Sun: A Cherokee Tale. Illus. Michael Grejniec. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1995 - see Cherokee Picture Books

Fleischman, Paul. Glass Slipper, Gold Sandal: A Worldwide Cinderella. Illus. Julie Paschkis. New York: Henry Holt, 2007. "The author draws from a variety of folk traditions to put together this version of Cinderella, including elements from Mexico, Iran, Korea, Russia, Appalachia, and more." Appalachia is the only regional (rather than national) storytelling tradition recognized on the map on the end papers and on one page in the middle of the text, where the stepmother orders the girl to pick lentils out of the ashes (as in the German "Ashputtle") and "scour all the kitchen pots." After the stepmother and her daughters leave for the palace, "Then a witch woman came in and spoke a spell—and up jumped the pots and scoured themselves." See "Ashpet."

Frazee. Marla. Hush Little Baby: A Folk Song with Pictures by Marla Frazee. New York: Browndeer/Harcourt Brace, 1999. The book jacket describes it as a "refreshingly unsentimental" story based on the old folk song, with a crying baby, frazzled parents, a visiting peddler, and a big sister in the middle of it all. Colorful illustrations are in acrylic and pencil. The California artist and mother researched the Appalachian roots of the song at Fort New Salem, WV, with living history programs on Appalachian culture 1790-1901.

Fugate, Clara Talton. The Legend of Natural Tunnel / La Leyenda del Tùnel Natural. Tales of the Virginia Wilderness. Illus. Caren L. Ertmann. Blacksburg, VA: Pocahontas Press, 1986. This is a 36-page story with black and white drawings throughout and maps, describing Natural Tunnel between Big Stone Gap and Bristol, northwest of Gate City, VA. The same story can be read from one side in English and from the other side in Spanish. The sad, romantic legend of the tunnel is about Winona, daughter of Black Hawk, "a subordinate chief ot the Sac (Saux) and Fox Indians" (4). Her father disapproved of her lifelong love for Swift-Foot, who was an exemplary young hunter and warrior. Black Hawk holds a grudge because he was not allowed to marry the woman who became Swift-Foot's mother. Swift-Foot's pet Wolf helps Winona rescue him when he is injured after a battle. The end of the story tells why a high place near Natural Tunnel is known as Lovers' Leap.

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Galdone, Paul. The Tailypo: A Ghost Story. New York: Clarion, 1977. “A strange varmint haunts the woodsman who lopped off its tail.”

Glass, Andrew. Bewildered for Three Days: As to Why Daniel Boone Never Wore His Coonskin Cap - see Tall Tales

Haley, Gail E.  Jack and the Bean Tree - see Jack Tale Picture Books. See also Mountain Jack Tales in Appalachian Folktale Collections.

Haley, Gail E.  Jack and the Fire Dragon - see Jack Tale Picture Books

Haley, Gail E. Two Bad Boys - see Cherokee Picture Books and Selu

Hall, Francie. Appalachian ABCs. Illus. Kent Oehm. Johnson City, TN: Overmountain Press, 1998. Among other folkways and arts, this alphabet book's short verse texts include "J is for Jack Tales. Once when a mighty North Wind rose/Jack and his mother nearly froze." Includes a full-page pastel portrait of Jack, a young man in overalls and a hat, surrounded by a Jack in the Pulpit border, facing a sillouhette of a storyteller with children and dog. See cover and comments at Overmountain Press or at Tene's Treasures online Appalachian bookstore.

Harshman, Marc and Bonnie Collins. Rocks in My Pocket. Illus. Toni Goffe. New York:  Cobblehill, 1991. A comical take on legendary tales about people in windy places keeping rocks in their pockets so they won't blow away. "The Woods family lived on a farm at the top of the highest mountain in these parts, a way up where the wind is your neighbor all year round," with "old rocky soil." They rub rocks during storytelling ("old stories about hard work and patience"), put warm rocks in cold beds, and play catch with them. Some foolish tourists who insist on buying their shiny rocks give the Woods ideas about making money by selling rocks. Amusing cartoonlike illustrations show that the tourists, whose rocks seem worthless on display back in their homes, are much more silly than the happy Woods family using the rocks in practical ways.

Havill, Juanita. Kentucky Troll. Illus Bert Dodson. New York: Lothrop, Lee & Shepard, 1993. A troll emigrates from Sweden to Kentucky and pretends to be human, trying to learn about people and live like them. He uses his magic powder to bring more milk and make butter to sell, so that he can find a wife. When the pretty girl who helps milk his cow discovers his identity, he gives up living among "peculiar people," but continues to watch them. After much discussion comparing Swedish troll customs and human Kentucky lifestyles, he decides "people and trolls can't live together." Kentucky life and landscape are praised, but humans are parodied as intolerant skeptics.

Hicks, RayThe Jack Tales. Three tales as told to Lynn Salsi - see Jack Tale Picture Books

Hooks, William H. Snowbear Whittington: An Appalachian Beauty and the Beast. Illus. Victoria Lisi. New York: Macmillan, 1994. N. pag. A verse narrative and romantic illustrations depict the strong heroine who marries a bear and rescues her husband from beastly enchantment.  

Hooks, William H. The Three Little Pigs and the Fox. Illus. S. D. Schindler. New York: Aladdin, 1989. N. pag. Based on several oral versions from the Smoky Mountains, adding humorous details that give each character lively individual personalities, especially Hamlet, the baby girl pig who outwits the "tricky old drooly-mouth fox" and saves her brothers. See cover and description at Nancy Keane's Booktalks 

Hunter, C. W. The Green Gourd:  A North Carolina Folktale. Illus. Tony Griego. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1992. In a colorful comic tale of mountain woman vs. nature, an old woman in need of a new water dipper defies the old caution not to pick green gourds before they're ripe. She regrets it when the gourd chases her and her animal and human friends around their hills and holler. 

Hurst, Hawk. Story of the First Flute. Illus. Lindley Sharp. Boone, NC: Parkway Publishers, 2001 - see Cherokee Picture Books

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Isaacs, Anne. Swamp Angel.  Illus. Paul O. Zelinsky - see Tall Tales  

Jensen, Patsy. John Henry and His Mighty Hammer - see Tall Tales

Johnson, Paul Brett. Bearhide and Crow. New York: Holiday House, 2000. A comic twentieth-century trickster tale about a farmer getting the best of simple Sam Hankins through swapping. Sam tells Amos, "a swapping fool," that the smelly old bearhide he got from a gypsy woman is magic. After the bearhide gets Amos in trouble with his wife, he turns the tables on Sam by selling him a magic talking crow that finds gold on his property. Although Amos had learned of the gold from robbers who hid it there, he tricks Sam into swapping the rest of his gold for the bearhide which Sam sleeps in, believing in vain that it will make him learn to speak crow. Amos makes peace with his wife by buying her some pretties. An Author's Note tells of "a curious bit of Appalachian lore" about teaching a crow to talk by splitting its tongue, although no one is likely to try it. As with Jack in Fearless Jack, Johnson gives Sam a dog whose expressions mimic Sam's in each scene. (Reader's theater script formerly available at Johnson's web site, but Johnson died in 2011.) 

Johnson, Paul Brett. The Cow Who Wouldn't Come Down. New York: Orchard, 1993. Johnson's first published book and one of his most popular depicts the tall-tale escapades of Gertrude, a wayward cow.(Reader's theater script formerly available at Johnson's web site, but Johnson died in 2011.) 

Johnson, Paul Brett. Fearless Jack - see Jack Tale Picture Books

Johnson, Paul Brett. The Goose Who Went Off in a Huff. New York: Orchard, 2001. The third in Johnson's trilogy about wayward animals.(Reader's theater script formerly available at Johnson's web site, but Johnson died in 2011.) 

Johnson, Paul Brett. Jack Outwits the Giants - see Jack Tale Picture Books. This is a featured youth book in the Roanoke Valley Reads program in Fall 2013. Click here for details.

Johnson, Paul Brett. Old Dry Frye. New York: Scholastic Press, 1999. A retelling of an Appalachian folktale about a preacher who chokes on a chicken bone. 

Johnson, Paul Brett. The Pig Who Ran a Red Light. New York: Orchard, 1999. In a kind of sequel to The Cow, George the pig tries to drive, play music, and fly. Reader's theater script available at Johnson's web site PBJ Scripts for Kids, 2009

Justus, May. Eben and the Rattlesnake. Illus. Carol Wilde. Champaign, IL: Garrard Publishing, 1969. This 48-page picture book weaves the tall tale into a realistic story about Eben Holder and his farming parents in No-End Hollow. The Right House for Rowdy contains the same tall tale within a slightly longer realistic story about a pup that needs a doghouse. See Tall Tales and bibliography Books by May Justus.

Justus, May. Fiddle Away. Illus. Erick Berry [pseud.]. New York: Grosset & Dunlap,1942. 28 pp. A Story Parade picture book about mountain life. Includes "The Swapping Song" (words and music) on p. 21 and on lining-papers. The same story about Honey Jane helping Joe John to buy a new fiddle and win the fiddle contest is in Children of the Great Smoky Mountains. strong female character

Justus, May. It Happened in No-End Hollow. Illus. Mimi Korach. American Folk Tales series. Champaign, IL: Garrard Publishing,1968. 48 pp. Three traditional tales from the Great Smoky Mountain region of Tennessee:

  1. In "Old Ben Bailey Meets his Match," Lester regrets trusting an unscrupulous neighbor with his fox hound pup that is the envy of No-End Hollow. Bailey claims the dog was taken by a passing buzzard, so Lester tricks him by borrowing Bailey's mule and saying the same thing happened to it. When people say, "He beat Old Ben at his own game," it reminds me of Jack beating the witch at her own game in tales such as "Hardy Hard Head." Folks spread this tale until it shames mean Old Ben into moving away to Far-Side.

  2. "Little Lihu's Lucky Day" is about superstitions that bring some bad luck to the youngest child in a family of 13. His father's warning about not walking under a ladder scares Lihu and he injures his foot. While the others are out hunting an escaped zoo bear, Lihu finds the bear making a mess in their springhouse, uses his crutch to bar the door, and earns the reward. Click on thumbnail at right for larger illustration.

  3. In "Don't Be a Silly-Billy," Billy makes humorous mistakes because he has "heedless ways and funny ideas which came from not paying good attention to what he was told to do" (42). Billy is somewhat similar to the foolish boys in "Soap, Soap, Soap" and "Jack and the Three Sillies."

Justus, May. Jumping Johnny Outwits Skedaddle. Illus. Raymond Burns. American Folk Tales series. Champaign, Ill.: Garrard Pub., 1971. 62 pp. "A young mountain boy's high-jumping mule proves its worth on a stormy night ride to fetch a doctor" (WorldCat). See details and other Jumping Johnny stories in AppLit bibliography Books by May Justus.

Justus, May. Tales from Near-Side and Far. Illus. Herman B. Vestal. American Folk Tales series. Champaign, Ill.: Garrard Pub., 1970. 63 pp. Introduced by the publisher, like others in this series, as "American Folk Tales [that] are colorful tales of regional origin full of the local flavor and grass roots humor of special people and places." These are not wonder tales but four realistic family tales with traces of folklore roots. Warm two-color illustrations throughout. The outer covers contain a full-color scene combining images from all four tales.

  1. "Hound Pup Names Himself" is about a boy's mischievous puppy that earns affection and the name Hunkydory after he helps catch a food thief outside the meetinghouse during a Big Meeting.

  2. In "Here Comes Step-Along," two children earn gifts from the aging peddler when they devise a way to help him carry his pack up "the steepest part of No-End Hollow Trail." The mother's old butter-churning song is included in this tale.

  3. "A Good Stay-Place" is a little like "Jack and the Robbers" when an orphaned boy and his aging mule run away from a mean landlord who tries to get as much work or cash as he can from the boy's father's remaining property. Unlike in the Jack tale, Jimmy soon meets a pup with a boy who takes him home to live with his grandparents, in a kind family that needs more help.

  4. The child in "Jumping Johnny" is a little like "Jack be Nimble" or a tall tale hero when he suddenly jumps out of his cradle. The Good Witch Woman from Far-Side had said he would be "a wonder boy" when they saw a shooting star at his birth. His jumpy ways cause a little trouble but they eventually earn him the affection of everyone when he jumps around doing errands and gets paid a dollar for taking a circus poster around. His family benefits when neighbors begin trading useful goods for Johnny's jumpy errands. Click on thumbnail at right for larger illustration. (See also Jumping Johnny books in bibliography Books by May Justus.)
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Keams, Geri. Grandmother Spider Brings the Sun - see Cherokee Picture Books

Keats, Ezra Jack. John Henry - see Tall Tales 

Kellogg, Steven. Sally Ann Thunder Ann Whirlwind Crockett - see Tall Tales 

King, Thomas. A Coyote Columbus Story. Illus. William Kent Monkman. Groundwood Books, 1992 - see Cherokee Picture Books

King, Thomas. Coyote Sings to the Moon. Illus. Johnny Wales. Portland, OR: WestWinds Press, 1998 - see Cherokee Picture BooksThe Big Toe cover

Kirby, Ellie. The Big Toe: An Appalachian Ghost Story. Troutdale, VA: Fox Creek Press, 2010. An old woman finds the toe in her garden and takes it home to cook it for supper. "Ellie Kirby's neighbors modeled for the characters in the illustrations and Purrl, the 'library cat' at the Grayson County Library, was a model for the old woman's cat" (from author's web site).

Kirby, Ellie. The Legend of Caty Sage. Troutdale, VA: Fox Creek Press, 2006. This book is biography and legend. "On July 5, 1792, a five-year-old child named Caty Sage disappeared from a farm in Grayson County, Virginia. In 1848 her brother Charles found a white woman living with an Indian tribe in Kansas and became convinced that she was Caty. Since then her story has been told and retold until it has become a beloved legend in the mountains of Southwest Virginia. For a more detailed account of the Caty Sage story, I recommend Bill Bland's book, Yourowquains, a Wyandot Indian Queen" (Author's Note). strong female character

Kirby, Ellie. The White Bear: A Tale from the Blue Ridge Mountains. Troutdale, VA: Fox Creek Press, 2008. Kirby's Author's Note describes places she visited in the Blue Ridge Mountains and people who posed in 1910 Edwardian costumes for her watercolor illustrations. A resident of Southwestern Virginia, Kirby also used scenes in Western North Carolina in this story. The main character is a farmer's daughter who "lived way back in the mountains." The white bear is really an enchanted prince from way across the ocean. See page on Kirby's Fox Creek Press web site. strong female character

Langstaff, John M. Frog Went A-Courtin'. Illus. Feodor Rojankovsky. New York: Harcourt Brace, 1955. This retelling of the popular folk song about a frog courting a mouse won the 1956 Caldecott Medal. Langstaff, a New York musician and dramatist, learned folk songs from his parents, who had Cecil Sharp's collections of folk songs (some of which were collected in Appalachia). One of Langstaff's teachers when he was a boy took him to the Whitetop Folk Festival in Virginia. In the book he combined American versions of the story and used music sung in southern Appalachia. The song also appears in Chase, Richard, Grandfather Tales; in Kidd, Ronald (comp.), On Top of Old Smoky; and many versions are recorded at The Bluegrass Messengers Fiddle and Instrumental Tunes.

Langstaff, John M. The Swapping Boy. Illus. Beth and Joe Krush. New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1960. A picture book version of the folk song about a series of foolish trades, with musical score and brightly colored sketches featuring a young boy playing the fiddle and a girl dancing while she sweeps their cabin. This book has the traditional ending: "And now the songbook's back on the shelf, / If you want any more, you can sing it yourself!" The author's notes discuss the 500-year history and different versions of this children's song "about the foolish boy." He used a tune sung in his own family, one discovered by Cecil Sharp, the Englishman who collected ballads from children and adults in the Southern Appalachian Mountains forty years earlier. Langstaff chose the words he liked best from different parts of the country.

Lester, Julius. John Henry. Illus. Jerry Pinkney - see Tall Tales

Lossiah, Lynn King. Cherokee Little People: The Secrets and Mysteries of the Yunwi Tsunsdi. Illus. Ernie Lossiah. Cherokee, NC: Cherokee Publishing, 2001 - see Cherokee Picture Books

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MacDonald, Margaret Read. The Old Woman and her Pig: An Appalachian Folktale. Illus. John Kanzler. New York: HarperCollins, 2007. After buying a pig for a penny, a woman gets embroiled in the antics of a series of other animals who help her get the stubborn pig across the bridge. Older picture books with the same title adapt the traditional English cumulative tale.

McKissack, Patricia C. Mirandy and Brother Wind. Illus. Jerry Pinkney. Based on McKissack's grandparents' experience of winning a cakewalk (an African American dance tradition) as teenagers, this story tells of a young girl at the beginning of the twentieth century who would like Brother Wind to be her partner at the cakewalk. Her mother tells of an old saying about being able to control the wind if you can catch him, but Grandmama tells her that no one can catch Brother Wind, who is free. Mirandy uses folk practices suggested by different people, including a conjure woman, but the lively spring wind always eludes her. At the dance, she ends up winning the junior cakewalk with Ezel, a boy the others made fun of. Grandmama laughs at "them chullin . . . dancing with the Wind!" Brother Wind is depicted as a well-dressed "high-steppin'" man in top hat and flowing cape. Although McKissack herself is from west of the mountains in Tennessee and the dust cover refers only to "the rural South" in Pinkney's "rich, eye-catching watercolors," the community of Ridgetop in the story is painted as a mountain setting. With its emphasis on the futility of catching the wind, this story is reminiscent of Jack and the Northwest Wind. Flossie and the Fox (Dutton, 1987), by McKissack and Rachel Isadora, is another great African American tale of the rural South; Flossie is smarter than "Little Red Riding Hood" and can outwit the fox that threatens her in the woods.

Martin, Jacqueline Briggs. Good Times on Grandfather Mountain. Illus. Susan Gaber. New York: Orchard Books, 1992. Old Washburn "always looked at the bright side of life." Even when a series of disasters takes away his animals, his crops, and his cabin, he sees advantages in having less to care for. Like the wise wizard evoked in the picture of the mountain man sleeping under the stars— long white beard, a quilt as a robe, and an open book by his side—Washburn turns the bad into good. His fiddle music lures his neighbors and his roving animals to return and help him. Publishers Weekly called Washburn "a combination of Pollyana and Job" (qtd. on back cover). Gaber's watercolors include interesting close-ups of man and animals on white pages, as well as borderless double-page scenes. Pictures, summary and activity at Martin's page Good Times on Grandfather Mountain. She calls the story "a literary tall-tale about one of my favorite characters. . . a fine whittler."

Miller, Bobbi Ann. Miss Sally Ann and the Panther - see Tall Tales strong woman book

Moser, Barry. Polly Vaughn: A Traditional British Ballad Designed, Illustrated, and Retold in an American Setting. Boston: Little, Brown, 1992. N. pag. A prose retelling of an old ballad that has many variants in America as well as Europe. Moser blends realistic, melodramatic, and supernatural details, using the context of a family feud in Cold Iron Mountain. Jimmy, a young miner, is hanged for accidentally killing Polly, a humble mountain tomboy, before their wedding. The tragic love story and strong anti-hunting theme are of interest to older readers. Moser's paintings in all three of his Appalachian fairy tale books contain striking portraits of the characters.

Moser, Barry. The Tinderbox. Boston: Little, Brown, 1990. A retelling of "The Tinderbox" by Hans Christian Andersen, with a post-Civil War setting. Yoder, a young veteran, cheats an old man to acquire his magic tinderbox and the services of three mysterious dogs which help him accumulate power, wealth, and romance in a mountain village. The parody of small-town corruption and gullibility is of interest to older readers. See Afterword for Moser's comments on his motives for retelling fairytales in mountain settings familiar to him from his Tennessee childhood. See also Essay on Three Folktale Adaptations by Moser.

Moser, Barry. Tucker Pfeffercorn: An Old Story Retold. Boston: Little, Brown, 1994. Moser's brilliant feminist retelling of "Rumpelstiltskin" places the tale of patriarchal tyranny and a victimized female laborer in a coal town. Bessie, a "fearless and strong willed" young miner's widow, defends her baby against the threats of Hezakiah Sweatt, the ruthless coal boss who makes her try to spin cotton into gold,and the mysterious little man who spins the gold. Bessie Grace does not marry her oppressor, but migrates to Cincinnati in the end. Essay on Three Folktale Adaptations by Moser.

Ferradiddledumday coverMullins, Denvil. Soapy-Dope: The Monster Who Lived in a Chuckhole. Illus. Carol Bates Murray. Johnson City, TN: Overmountain Press, 2001. A monster in a chuckhole in the road likes to scare little creatures but eventually he is run over flat as a board and is nailed to a barn where a board is missing. This tale is also in Mullins' collection Echoes of Appalachia, 1994. See description and cover at Overmountain Press, or cover and comments at Tene's Treasures online Appalachian bookstore.

Mushko, Becky. Ferradiddledumday: An Appalachian Version of Rumpelstiltskin. Illus. Bruce Rae. Blumo Bluff, VA: Cedar Creek Publishing, 2010. With Study & Discussion Guide. Line drawings throughout, with photographs on covers and in study guide. First published in Blue Ridge Traditions, 1998. Published in AppLit since 2001, with drawings by school children added 2002. A heart-warming story about a young woman who works hard and leads a charmed life. With plants and animals from the Blue Ridge Mountains woven poetically through Gillie's encounters with a mysterious little man, the rhythms of the seasons flow through the story as naturally as the magic of the old fairy tale. "Becky Mushko deftly translates the Grimm Brothers' Rumpelstiltskin into an Appalachian fellow, witty and magical, and cleverly at home among the whispering sassafrass and paw-paw" (Amanda Cockrell). See reviews at authors's web site.

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O'Hearn, Michael. How Spirit Dog Made the Milky Way: A Retelling of a Cherokee Legend. Illus. Roberta Collier-Morales, 2009. - see Cherokee Picture Books

Ostheim, Gretchen, adapter. The Old Man and His Seven Sons: An Appalachian Folktale. Illus. Johanna van der Sterre. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2008. A retelling in 148 words and 8 pages for primary grade readers, part of a Houghton Mifflin social studies series. This tale about a farmer teaching his sons to stop arguing and work together, so they will be stronger like a bundle of sticks that can't be broken when tied together, was recorded in the James Taylor Adams Collection and that western Virginia tale is reprinted in this web site. (The plot is also as ancient as Aesop's Fables.) Four response questions and an activity are given at the end of the booklet.

Pack, Linda Hager. A is for Appalachia! The Alphabet Book of Appalachian Heritage. Illus. Pat Banks. Prospect, KY: Harmony House Publishers, 2002. Rpt. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2009. The author, from Hamlin, WV, reprints two tales by Leonard Roberts: "The Devil's Big Toe" on the page "G is for ghost stories" (p. 16), and "Jack and the Bean Stalk" on the page "J is for the clever boy in the Jack Tales" (pp. 20-22). Pack stresses that "Jack was a country boy just like the children who loved hearing about him." The tales are from Sang Branch Settlers and Old Greasybeard (see Roberts in Appalachian Folktale Collections). Other pages describe traditional folkways, language, and customs. Watercolor illustrations are by an artist from Madison County, KY.

Pack, Linda Hager. Appalachian Toys and Games from A to Z. Illus. Pat Banks. Lexington, KY: University Press of Kentucky, 2013. In alphabet format with details on traditional toys and games from the mid to late 1800s. Under "eerie stories" is a reprint of a ghost story, "Never Mind Them Watermelons," by S. E. Schlosser. Includes an Iroquois legend of the corn husk doll, as well as instructions for making an apple doll, rules for hoop and stick, and examples of jump rope rhymes. O is a poem about being outside. Includes a glossary, Author's Note, Illustrator's Note, list of Places to Visit (mostly museums), a list of Recommended Appalachian Books for Children, and bibliography.

Pennington, Daniel. Itse Selu: Cherokee Harvest Festival - see Cherokee Picture Books

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Quackenbush, Robert. Quit Pulling My Leg! A Story of Davy Crockett - see Tall Tales 

Red Earth. Selu and Kana'Ti:  Cherokee Corn Mother and Lucky - see Cherokee Picture Books 

Ross, Gayle. How Turtle's Back Was Cracked: A Traditional Cherokee Tale. Illus. Murv Jacobs. Dial, 1995 - see Cherokee Picture Books. See also How Rabbit Tricked Otter by Ross and Jacobs in Appalachian Folktale Collections.

Roth, Susan LKanahena: A Cherokee Story - see Cherokee Picture Books

Roth, Susan L. The Story of Light - see Cherokee Picture Books 

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Salsi, Lynn. Jack and the Dragon - see Jack Tale Picture Books

Salsi, Lynn. Jack and the Giants - see Jack Tale Picture Books

San Souci, Robert. The Boy and the Ghost. Illus. J. Brian Pinkney. New York: Trumpet Club/Simon & Schuster, 1989. The middle child of seven children, hating to see his rural family working so hard, sets off for the city to earn some money. After he shares his soup with a poor man, the man tells him of the treasure in a haunted house everyone fears. Thomas watches a giant red-haired ghost come down the chimney and assemble the parts of his body. Since Thomas greets him without fear, the ghost shows him where to dig up a pot of gold and thanks brave Thomas for setting him free. As instructed, Thomas gives half the gold to the poor on his way home. His family moves into the big house on the hill and lives happily. This is a variant of The Hainted House. Although neither the text nor the illustrations emphasize a mountain setting, San Souci's sources are two short "negro ghost stories," from western Virginia and southern Alabama, published in 1898 and again in Journal of American Folk-Lore in 1906. San Souci notes that stories of ghosts guarding hidden treasure are found around the world.

San Souci, Robert. The Hired Hand. Illus. Jerry Pinkney. New York: Dial, 1997. African American tale collected in the 1870s from a Negro servant from Petersburg, Virginia, who got it from his granny. This retelling is set in an 18th-century town like Waterford, Virginia, one of the towns where black craftspeople lived freely before the Civil War. The story about a mysterious stranger, the New Hand, who changes old people into wooden shapes, saws them in pieces, and then restores their youth with water, is related to European tales about aged people being killed in order to be returned to youth. When the wrong person tries this trick, he cannot succeed.

Sawyer, Ruth. Journey Cake, Ho! Illus. Robert McCloskey. New York: Viking Press, 1953. An old couple on Tip Top Mountain, Merry and Grumble, have a "bound-out boy" named Johnny. When the farm falls on hard times, they send Johnny off with a journey-cake. As in other stories about runaway pancakes or gingerbread men, the journey cake runs away, and is chased by Johnny and a series of animals. It leads them back to the farm, where the animals make the farm successful again. The prose story contains verses of song about the journey cake. At the end the story plays with the terms used in different places, when Merry changes the name Journey Cake to Johnny Cake. Lively two-color illustrations depict the change from a despondent to a happy farm family. The mountain setting is not necessarily Appalachian, but journey cakes appear in Appalachian stories, such as some versions of Mutsmag. See also Classroom Connections on runaway food stories at Jim Aylesworth web site, and Fairy Tale Variants: The Gingerbread Man, Indianapolis Public Library.

Schanzer, Rosalyn. Davy Crockett Saves the World - see Tall Tales

Schroeder, AlanSmoky Mountain Rose: An Appalachian Cinderella. Illus. Brad Sneed. New York: Dial Books for Young Readers, 1997. Rose, a trapper's daughter, loses her glass slipper at a party given by the rich guy on the other side of the creek.  The fairy godmother is a huge hog. Sneed's water colors feature elongated figures and unusual perspectives similar to those in American paintings by Thomas Hart Benton. 

Schroeder, Alan. The Tale of Willie Monroe - see Tall Tales  

Shelby, Anne. The Man Who Lived in a Hollow Tree. Illus. Cor Hazelaar. New York: Atheneum, 2009. - see Tall Tales

Sloat, Teri (reteller and illus.). Sody Sallyratus. New York: Dutton Children's Books, 1997. In this traditional Appalachian tale one family member after another goes to the store for baking soda and never returns. Finally the pet squirrel rescues the people who have been swallowed by a bear.

Smucker, Anna Egan. Golden Delicious: A Cinderella Apple Story. Illus. Kathleen Kemly. Morton Grove, IL: Albert Whitman, 2008. This book is more natural and agricultural history than folklore, recounting the discovery of the Golden Delicious apple with allusions to Cinderella. Every Golden Delicious apple tree in the world is descended from one tree "that just grew" on Anderson Mullins's farm in Clay County, WV in the early 1900s! A nursery in Missouri purchased the tree and took twigs for growing new trees. The Author's Note gives further background on the apple's history and the grafting process.

Sneve, Virginia Driving Hawk. The Cherokees: A First Americans Book. Illus. Ronald Himler, 1996. Includes a creation myth - see Cherokee Picture Books 

Spaulding, Minnie K. Jack and His Dogs - see Jack Tale Picture Books

Stephenson, R. Rex. Mutsmag. Published in AppLit, 2002. An online picture book adaptation, partially animated, with illustrations by children in grades K-3, Franklin County, VA. The original drawings were made in 2000 after children saw the Jack Tale Players' dramatization of the tale. See also descriptions at Mutsmag.

Sterne, Emma G. How Rabbit Stole Fire: A Cherokee Legend. Jack Ferguson. New York: Aladdin Books, 1954. - see Cherokee Picture Books 

Still, James. Jack and the Wonder Beans - see Jack Tale Picture Books

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Troughton, Joanna. The Little Mohee: An Appalachian Ballad. New York: Dutton, 1970. This is a first-person verse narrative about a colonial man who returns, after his lover back in England rejects him, to Mohee, the "sweet Indian lass" who loves him. Illustrations are colorful with bold outlines. Music and background notes are given at the end. The notes explain that this ballad has American origins and is associated with different parts of America, but no specific details tell of its Appalachian history. Troughton is an English artist.

Ugidali (Lee Piper). Stories from Ugidali: Cherokee Story Teller. Illus. Tanya Hargrove. Billings, Mont.: Council for Indian Education, 1981 - see Cherokee Picture Books

Vess, Charles, et al. The Book of Ballads. New York: Tor, 2004. Introduction by Terri Windling. Not a children's book and not completely Appalachian, but a retelling of ballads by different writers in graphic novel format. Some of these ballads from English, Irish, and Scottish traditions are well-known in Appalachia and Vess's art is deeply influenced by the mountain landscape around his western Virginia home. Vess wrote the text for "Alison Gross" while Appalachian authors Lee Smith and Sharyn McCrumb wrote "The Three Lovers" and "Thomas the Rhymer," respectively. Originally published as four comic books from Vess's Green Man Press in the 1990s. See cover and samples of the art at Tor page on Vess's work for this book at the Library of Congress.

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Wahl, Jan. Little Eight John. Illus. Wil Clay. New York: Lodestar/Dutton, 1992. Little Eight John is a disobedient young boy who brings bad luck to his family. For example, counting his teeth after his mother told him not to brings sickness to family members. Having "Sunday moans and groans" brings Old Raw Bloody Bones, who turns him into a spot of jam on the table. He wakes up just before his mother wipes away the spot, and then promises to obey her. Wahl heard this African American tale from an old man in West Virginia who remembered that it was used in North Carolina "to keep the young ones in line." Full-page acrylic paintings enhance the warmth and energy of the tale. Other versions of this tale end with the mother wiping up the spot, as a warning to children who don't mind.

Wahl, Jan. Tailypo!  Illus. Wil Clay. New York:  Henry Holt, 1991. An African American version, set in Tennessee, of a famous scary story.

Woolridge, Connie Nordhielm (adapter). Wicked Jack. Illus. Will Hillenbrand - see Jack Tale Picture Books

Yasuda, Anita. How the World Was Made: A Cherokee Creation Myth. Illus. Mark Pennington, 2013. - see Cherokee Picture Books 

See also Realistic Appalachian Picture Books Bibliography.

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Strong Women in Appalachian Folktales

A college freshman wrote in a 1993 essay that stories like “Mutsmag” “should be read to children,” and that “it is good to have stories that show women as strong and smart, instead of just pretty and sweet.  There should be more stories like this in the future.” (Deborah Carter, Ferrum College)

Note:  Many of the tales listed in this section are discussed in the essay "Strong Women in Appalachian Folktales" by Tina L. Hanlon.  The Lion & the Unicorn, vol. 24 (April 2000):  pp. 225-46 (available online through library services such as Project Muse).

See also  "Strong Women in Appalachian Folktale Dramatizations by R. Rex Stephenson," 2001-2 (full text in AppLit).

Best Collections:

Richard Chase's Grandfather Tales contains 25 tales with almost as much attention devoted to female storytellers and characters as to males. In "Old One Eye," a sharp old rich woman scares away robbers by letting them think she is a witch calmly waiting to attack them. "Gallymanders! Gallymanders!," about a good girl and a lazy girl, is related to the German "Mother Holle" and English tale "The Old Witch." For better examples, see the Strong Women index.

Shelby, Anne. The Adventures of Molly Whuppie and Other Appalachian Folktales. Illus. Paula McArdle. Chapel Hill: Univ. of NC Press, 2007. A storyteller and writer from southeastern KY, Shelby adapts Joseph Jacobs' British "Molly Whuppie" in "The Adventures of Molly Whuppie" and observes that her title tale is also based on the Appalachian "Merrywise" collected by Leonard Roberts (along with some links to "Mutsmag"). She adapts other tales from Appalachia, with elements from European and Japanese tales, in this collection of 14 tales, most of which feature Molly as a "clever, brave, and strong" hero (book jacket) who triumphs over giants and other obstacles. For more on this book, see Appalachian Folktale Collections K-Z.

Davenport, Tom, and Gary Carden. From the Brothers Grimm: A Contemporary Retelling of American Folktales and Classic Stories. Stories with photographs from 10 fairy tale films set in Appalachia. Most of them have strong female protagonists. Willa: An American Snow White (1996; not in this story collection) is a feature length film for preteen and older viewers, originally based on "A Stepchild That Was Treated Mighty Bad," collected by Marie Campbell in Tales from Cloud Walking CountryMutzmag, Ashpet, and Willa are annotated in Strong Women index. See also Davenport Bibliography in AppLit.

Ruth Ann Musick's Green Hills of Magic contains seventy-nine folktales from Europe told by immigrants in West Virginia mining communities in the mid-twentieth century. About ten are noteworthy for their depiction of women, especially "The King's Son and the Poor Man's Daughter." A poor woman wins a prince through the clever way she explains her strange manner of carving and serving a chicken, and later the headstrong wife saves her marriage by carrying away her husband after he tells her to leave with everything that belongs to her. There are European tales with the same motifs, but this version asserts repeatedly that the prince likes his wife because she is smart. This book also includes a variant of the Irish tale in which the giant Fin McCool is saved when his wife outwits a bigger giant, Cucullan. Unlike some other versions, such as Tomie de Paola's picture book Finn McCool, Musick's tale has a title, "Smart Mrs. McCool," that gives credit to the real hero of the story. See Appalachian Folktale Collections.

Marie Campbell's Tales from the Cloud Walking Country has tales with strong heroines. For example, in "The Farmer's Daughter," a girl cleverly answers riddles from a king to win his admiration and hand in marriage. See Appalachian Folktale Collections.


Kentucky storyteller Beverly Olivia Carter-Sexton's feminist retelling of "Lazy Jack" is transcribed and discussed in detail in "'Lazy Jack': Coding and Contextualizing Resistance in Appalachian Women's Narratives" by Elizabeth Fine. NWSA Journal, vol. 11 (Fall 1999): pp. 112ff.

For annotated references to variants and adaptations of other individual tales, see Tales of Strong Women in Annotated Index of Appalachian Folktales by Title.

In the picture book bibliography above, indicates books that focus on strong female characters.

See also Berniece T. Hiser. Quare Do's in Appalachia: East Kentucky Legends and Memorats. Among 30 tales collected by the author from family and friends of E. KY are the following tales about women:

Bibliography of Feminist Collections of Folktales (mostly not Appalachian, but parallels with Appalachian tales are noted)


Page created May 2000. Last update: 9/30/13

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