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The Best Tall Tales Kids Books

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Aw, Nuts!
Written & illustrated by Rob McClurkan
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Squirrel sets off on a chase after the perfect acorn in debut author-illustrator Rob McClurkan’s picture book Aw, Nuts! With bold, graphic art, Squirrel will have young readers laughing out loud on every page, eager to find out what will happen next. Squirrel loves acorns, so when he spots the perfect one, he must have it! But it bounces away. . . . So he jumps into a taxi, but the taxi runs out of gas. Aw, nuts! He bounces on a pogo stick, but it lands in a hole. Aw, nuts! He hops on a boat, gets shipped away, hitches a ride on a little girl’s bike, and more! Will Squirrel be able to catch up to the most delicious acorn ever?

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Library Lil
Written by Suzanne Williams & illustrated by Steven Kellogg
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

A formidable librarian makes readers not only out of the once resistant residents of her small town, but out of a tough-talking, television-watching motorcycle gang as well. An ALA Notable Book. Reprint.

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Swamp Angel
Written by Anne Isaacs & illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

Working in an American primitive style animated by the humor and storytelling genius for which he is renowned, Caldecott Winner artist Paul O. Zelinsky puts oils to cherry and maple for this tall-tale competition between a Tennessee woods-woman extraordinaire and a hungry, fearsome bear.Thundering Tarnation has a bottomless appetite for settler’s grub. When word goes out about a competition to hunt this four-legged forest of stubble, a young woman, second to none in buckskin bravery, signs up. “How about baking a pie, Angel?” the other hunters taunt. “I aim to,” says Swamp Angel. “A bear pie.”What follows is as witty a round of roughhousing as ever jostled the ranks of Americana. Anne Isaacs’ original text unfolds in a crackling combination of irony, exaggeration, and bold image-making. Zelinsky’s paintings respond with deft yet hilarious expressions, rhythmic shapes, and a sense of monumental motion, as benefits a heroine who can wield a tornado like a lasso, drink a lake dry, and snore down a forest. In the course of these grand shenanigans, the Great Smoky Mountains are stirred up, Montana’s short-grass prairie laid down, and Thundering Tarnation’s fate proves to have no less a reach than the starry heavens.Swamp Angel marks the debut of a promising new storyteller and adds to the tall-tale traditions a pictorial counterpart that will entertain and endure for a long time to come.

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Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch
Written by Anne Isaacs & illustrated by Kevin Hawkes
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-9

When Widow Tulip Jones of Bore, England, inherits a ranch in By-Golly Gully, Texas, and moves in with two trunks of tea, twelve pet tortoises, and three servants, hilarity ensues. The peaceful life suits the wealthy widow fine until word gets out and every unmarried man in Texas lines up to marry her. Widow Tulip and her small staff of three can’t possibly run the farm and manage all the suitors, so she devises a plan—and it just might work. This story filled with giant tortoises, 1,000 brides, bad guys, a smart widow, and even a little romance is sure to get kids laughing.

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Danny McGee Drinks the Sea
Written by Andy Stanton & illustrated by Neal Layton
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
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  • McBroom's Wonderful One-Acre Farm: Three Tall Tales - When Josh McBroom learns that the eighty acres of Iowa farmland he's purchased are all stacked up on top of each other at the bottom of a muddy little pond, he thinks he's been bamboozled. But McBroom knows he's got the better of the bargain when the pond dries up to reveal an acre of soil so rich that seeds spring up into full-grown plants in no time and even nickels grow into quarters.

  • Apples to Oregon - Apples, ho! <BR> When Papa decides to pull up roots and move from Iowa to Oregon, he can’t bear to leave his precious apple trees behind. Or his peaches, plums, grapes, cherries, and pears. Oh, and he takes his family along too. But the trail is cruel – first there’s a river to cross that’s wider than Texas…and then there are hailstones as big as plums…and there’s even a drought, sure to crisp the cherries. Those poor pippins! Luckily Delicious (the nonedible apple of Daddy’s eye) is strong – as young ‘uns raised on apples “are” – and won’t let anything stop her father’s darling saps from tasting the sweet Oregon soil. <BR> Here’s a hilarious tall tale – from the team that brought you “Fannie in the Kitchen” – that’s loosely based on the life of a real fruiting pioneer. <BR> Apple Facts <BR> More than 7,500 varieties of apples are grown throughout the world. <BR> About 2,500 varieties grow in the United States. <BR> The apple variety Delicious is the most widely grown in the United States. <BR> Apples are part of the rose family. <BR> The science of fruit growing is called pomology. <BR> Fresh apples float. That’s because 25 percent of their volume is air. <BR> Cut an apple in half, across the core, and you’ll see a star shape. <BR> It takes apple trees four to five years to produce their first fruit. <BR> It takes about thirty-six apples to make one gallon of apple cider.

  • Grandma Lena's Big Ol' Turnip -

  • Johnny Appleseed - John Chapman--better known as Johnny Appleseed--had wilderness adventures that became larger-than-life legends. Pioneering west from Massachusetts after the American Revo-lution, John cleared land and planted orchards for the settlers who followed, leaving apple trees and tall tales in his wake. In this glorious picture book retelling, Steven Kellogg brings one of America's favorite heroes--and the stories that surrounded him--to life.

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Whopper Cake
Written by Karma Wilson & illustrated by Will Hillenbrand
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

Today is Grandma’s birthday, <br> and Granddad has an ichin’, <br> to bake a WHOPPER<br> chocolate cake<br> and traumatize the kitchen! <p/> Join the madcap frenzy of making the biggest cake in the world! And the biggest…mess!

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Pecos Bill
Written by Steven Kellogg
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Raised by coyotes, Pecos Bill grew up to be the greatest cowboy in Texas or anywhere else. Besides inventing lassoing, cattle roping, and rodeos, he could tame rattlesnakes, wrestle dangerous critters, and even make the terrible Hell’s Gulch Gang turn respectable! But his two greatest feats were winning the hearts of Lightning and of Slewfoot Sue - the wildest horse and the wildest woman in the West!

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Paul Bunyan (Anniversary)
Written & illustrated by Steven Kellogg
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A funny retelling of the tallest of tall tales, the rollicking adventures of Paul Bunyan and his great blue ox, paired with the extravagant and lively illustrations of Steven Kellogg. Perfect for read-alouds full of laughter!

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