“Paul Bunyan” by Steven Kellogg is a tall tale about the folk hero Paul Bunyan. The illustrations in the book are very detailed and humorous. The story tells about how Paul was born in Maine, but the family ends up moving west, because young Paul’s strength and enthusiasm for logging are causing problems in town. Paul saves an ox from a blizzard and names him Babe. The story chronicles Paul and Babe’s adventures as they travel across the United States with a logging crew. Some of the incredible feats that Paul is credited with include digging the Great Lakes and Grand Canyon and “shaving” the slopes of the Rockies.
This book is an example of traditional literature, because it is a story that has been passed down and adapted over many years. It is a tall tale, because the main character is a hero who accomplishes outlandish feats. For example, it says “Paul took a few days off to dig the St. Lawrence River and the Great Lakes”.
This book has a grade level equivalent of 3.8 and would be most appealing to Kindergarten to 2nd or 3rd grade students. Because the illustrations are so detailed and integral to the story, it would be important to make sure students could all see them. A doc cam could be used, or the book could be read to small groups of students. When reading this book, a teacher could show students a map of the United States and help them locate the places mentioned in the book. Students could also explore the character traits of Paul Bunyan or compare him to a character in another story. It would also be interesting to compare and contrast different versions of stories about Paul Bunyan.