n nection

Isaacs, Anne. Swamp Angel. Illus. Paul O. Zelinsky. New York: Dutton, 1994. N. pag. Introduces a tall-tale heroine, Angelica Longrider, as awesome as Paul Bunyan or Pecos Bill. Paul O. Zelinsky's dramatic paintings depict Swamp Angel's growth into "the greatest woodswoman in Tennessee" and her impact on the landscape when her long struggle with a gigantic bear, Thundering Tarnation, stirs up enough dust to create the atmosphere of the Smoky Mountains. The illustrations as described by the American Library Association awards committee: "Primitive-style oil paintings on cherry, maple, and birch veneers capture the folksy feel of life in nineteenth-century Tennessee." Dust Devil (New York: Atheneum, 2006), is a sequel set in Montana, where Swamp Angel goes when she is too big for Tennessee.

A Caldecott Honor Book, 1995
Anne Isaacs web site lists other awards and reviews, and teacher activities.
Paul O. Zelinsky web site
Reading Is Fundamental lesson plan on Folk Art

Adapted as a Weston Woods video in 2001, with an educator resources study guide at this Scholastic/Weston Woods link

Related Appalachian Tales:

Sally Ann Thunder Ann Whirlwind Crockett

John Henry by Julius Lester and Jerry Pinkney was a Caldecott Honor Book in the same year as Swamp Angel.

See also Appalachian Picture Books: Tall Tales and Folklore Themes in Longer Appalachian Fiction.

Keehn, Sally M. Magpie Gabbard and the Quest for the Buried Moon. New York: Philomel Books, 2007. 208 pp. Original tall tale about a nineteenth-century thirteen-year-old girl in eastern KY who achieves incredible feats such as returning her brother's chopped-off toe, ending a feud, and rescuing the moon that was trapped by goblins. Inspired partially by "a little-known English tale about the moon coming to earth as a beautiful woman." Keehn's novel Gnat Stokes and the Foggy Bottom Swamp Queen (2005) has a twelve-year-old heroine in a magical story based on the Scottish ballad "Tam Lin."

Other pourquoi tales about animals, natural phenomena, and human inventions, such as The First Fire, or How the Water Spider Captured Fire, are listed in the Native American section of this folktale index and in AppLit's picture book bibliography. Pourquoi elements are found in other tall tales such as Tony Beaver, and Steven Kellogg's Sally Ann Thunder Ann Whirlwind Crockett. See study guide on Tall Tales and Jack Tales. The Magic Sausage Mill explains why the sea is salty.

Hispanic Connection: Dona Flor book cover image

Mora, Pat. Doņa Flor: A Tall Tale About a Giant Woman with a Great Big Heart. Illus. Pat Mora. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2006. "Impregnated with the flavors, smells and folk ways of the American Southwest, 'Doņa Flor: A Tall Tale About a Giant Woman with a Great Big Heart' is a captivating tall tale. Mora’s poetic language brings to life this original and engaging character whose love and concern for her neighbors and friends fills the story with joy. Colón has created a new tall tale heroine, Doņa Flor, whose presence fills the pages of this book. She gazes above the mountains, her eye looks through a doorway, and she dwarfs the mighty puma. The spectacular illustrations perfectly match the story and accurately reflect the culture and landscape of the American Southwest (description from American Library Association, awarding the 2006 Pura Belpré Award for illustration to this book, and naming it an Honor Book for narration in a book celebrating the Latino cultural experience).

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