Old Dry Frye: A Deliciously Funny Tall Tale

Overview

Everybody knows Old Dry Frye. He¹s so crazy about fried chicken that he¹s got a reputation as large as his appetite. When he swallows a chicken bone, Frye¹s friends panic and ignite a series of uproarious adventures!

A humorous retelling of an Appalachian folktale about a preacher who chokes on a chicken bone.

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Overview

Everybody knows Old Dry Frye. He¹s so crazy about fried chicken that he¹s got a reputation as large as his appetite. When he swallows a chicken bone, Frye¹s friends panic and ignite a series of uproarious adventures!

A humorous retelling of an Appalachian folktale about a preacher who chokes on a chicken bone.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Children's Literature
The main character in this tale is a dead man so squeamish readers beware! Paul Brett Johnson has retold the traditional Appalachian folk story about a preacher named Old Dry Frye who loved fried chicken. He dies on page three of this story by choking on a chicken bone at a parishioners' house. Not wanting to be accused of murder, these parishioners hide the corpse in a poor widow woman's hen house. When the widow hears all the protests from the hens, she hits Old Dry Frye on the head with an iron skillet, thinking he was an intruder. Then she discovers who it really is and she assumes that she's killed the preacher. Not wanting to be accused of murder, she dumps the body in a tree where two brothers think the corpse is a possum and start throwing rocks at it. When the body of Old Dry Frye falls from the tree, the boys are worried that they'll be accused of murder so they put the corpse in a sack and throw it into the river. Finally, the sack is discovered by the blacksmith and his wife, who also think they might have caused the death of Old Dry Frye. They throw him onto a mean-spirited horse and as the horse gallops away, they yell, "Stop that horse thief! He stole our best horse!" Johnson's version of this tale is sprinkled with Appalachian dialect and his almost fluorescent colored illustrations dance along with this outlandish story. However, his book, The Cow Who Wouldn't Come Down, is still his best work so far.
School Library Journal
Gr 2-4 A gentler version of an Appalachian folktale told in Richard Chase's Grandfather Tales (Houghton, 1973). Old Dry Frye, the preacher, loves fried chicken. While eating some at a neighbor's house, he chokes on a bone and dies "right there on the spot." Afraid they'll be accused of murder, the frightened couple hide his body in a nearby henhouse, where the "widder woman" thinks he's a chicken thief and hits him over the head. Believing that she's killed the preacher, she decides to hide the body. During the course of the story, Old Dry Frye is thrown into a tree, placed in a sack in the river, hung in a smokehouse, and, finally, put on a mean-spirited horse. Observant readers will notice that the bucking of the horse actually dislodges the chicken bone, thus reviving the preacher. Full-page acrylic paintings detail the hilarious chain of events, while the repeated refrain, "Everybody knew Old Dry Frye," and the down-home language create a rollicking read-aloud. Maryann H. Owen, Racine Public Library, WI Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
An Appalachian folktale is the basis of Johnson's story of a fried-chicken-loving preacher whose untimely demise sets into motion an tumultuous chain of events as members of his flock frantically try to absolve themselves of the non-existent crime of murder. Old Dry Frye is so well known for his capacious appetite for fried chicken that when he chokes on a bone, his hosts, a distraught farmer and his wife, are convinced that everyone will suspect them of murder. To escape condemnation, they quickly hide the body in the widow's chicken coop; she, fearing the preacher is a poacher, bops him on the head with her frying pan. Believing she accidentally killed Frye, she quickly gets "shed of" him. And so begins the wild journey for the hapless corpse as one villager after another stumbles upon him and assumes guilt for the cause of death. Johnson's over-the-top, humorous portrayal of the citizens' frenzied actions and reactions rescue the tale from excessive morbidity. Although the text does not refer to it, the illustrations show Frye coughing up his chicken bone during the chaotic and hilarious denouement. Told in the melodious twang of mountain vernacular, Johnson's story rumbles along to its own beat, an outrageously ghoulish tale to make story-hour listeners shiver. (Picture book/folklore. 5-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780590376587
  • Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 9/1/1999
  • Pages: 40
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: AD710L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 9.33 (w) x 11.32 (h) x 0.35 (d)

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