Friday, July 24, 2009

The Story of Paul Bunyan

Story of Paul Bunyan
Barbara Emberley ~ Ed Emberley ~ Prentice Hall, 1963

Geez, the last few weeks have been so taken up by my son listening to EB White reading Charlotte's Web unabridged on CD over and over again (eight times as of today) that I hardly feel like I've read to him at all. Averaging barely a dozen books a day to our usual countless amount, you would know the first book I tired to read him this morning freaked him out totally... for reasons completely baffling to me. Perhaps it is the title character's giant size and his reckless ax-welding. Maybe it is the giant, blue ox. Sure, it is pretty weird to see Paul gape and gobble down 231 flapjacks at once, but still... that is no reason to run screaming from the couch, yelping like a maniac. I mean, they're just woodcuts dude. Chill out.

As I said, the loggers were mighty men.
But the mightiest, the biggest, and the strongest
of them all was Paul Bunyan.
A man so big, he used to comb his long beard
with an old pine tree
he yanked right out of the ground.

So the tall tale goes that Paul dug the Mississippi River, cleared the plains of the West and washed Boston all the way from Maine to Massachusetts just by taking a bath (and that was when he was a wee baby!) Along with Babe the mighty ox, his presence in folk lore allowed untold mysteries to be explained and exaggerating storytellers to wow many a crowd. The famous Emberley husband and wife team managed a nice retelling of these timeless stories with wonderful two-tone woodcuts illustrating Paul's handicap of scale in perfect comic timing. Won't be putting this one in the shop anytime soon, even it it does give the boy the willies. He'll grow into it.

Also by:
Klippity Klop
The Wing on a Flea


A said...

The Emberleys were geniuses. I love their simplistic illustrations.

As a side note, coming from MN where Paul Bunyon ran wild, it can freak you out as a child. We have a myth here where every time he stepped, he made a new lake. All 10,000 + of them. You never know when he might want to go on a run :)

ccp said...

Thanks for posting this. I've been looking for a Paul Bunyan book for my son and haven't come across any I really cared for. The woodcuts are amazing!

Caryn said...

Yay! I found this book about two months ago for 50 cents at a thrift store. Loved the illustrations! And was captivated by the story.

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