Paul Bunyan vs. Hals Halson: The Giant Lumberjack Challenge!


As we all know, Paul Bunyan was born big and kept on growing. As a boy, sometimes is was hard not having someone his own size around. As an adult, it was hard to make friends too and even with the company of his pet Babe, he was sometimes lonely. When Hals Halson, another giant of a man, challenges Paul to a fight to determine the best lumberjack, Paul wins the day...and a new friend!

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As we all know, Paul Bunyan was born big and kept on growing. As a boy, sometimes is was hard not having someone his own size around. As an adult, it was hard to make friends too and even with the company of his pet Babe, he was sometimes lonely. When Hals Halson, another giant of a man, challenges Paul to a fight to determine the best lumberjack, Paul wins the day...and a new friend!

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Writing with a folksy cadence, Bateman (Fiona's Luck) introduces Bunyan as a baby who "was no bigger than your average grizzly bear despite what folks say." Dressed in bright red and blue, Bunyan stands out from the landscape for more than just his size, but Canga's brassy, somewhat wooden digital illustrations soon reveal a melancholy thread in young Bunyan's life. Too big to fit inside the schoolhouse, he peers through the windows, and at recess, he unhappily sits on one end of the teeter-totter while his classmates all crowd on the other. With only his blue ox, Babe, for company, Paul is also lonely as an adult, but when Hals Halson, who was "nearly as tall as Paul himself," thunders into the lumber camp, he doesn't have friendship on his mind. Hoping to prove he's "the greatest lumberjack in North America," Hals, who was not part of the original Paul Bunyan myth, picks a fight, while Paul responds with pacifism. Hals is knocked unconscious after charging his rival, but Paul extends a hand of friendship upon Hals's awakening hours later. A slim addition to the annals of Paul Bunyan lore. Ages 4–8. (Mar.)
Children's Literature - Beverley Fahey
With Babe the Blue Ox as his constant companion, Paul Bunyan leads a lonely life. He is bigger and stronger than everyone so has few friends. One day at a lumber camp, when a giant of a man stands before him, Paul extends a hand in friendship. But Hals Halson didn't come to make friends, he came to best the mighty Paul and proclaim himself the best lumberjack in North America. A wrestling match ensures but for the mighty Bunyan it is an opportunity to have his itches scratched. As Paul stands there, Halson kicks him in the shins with his big boots only to be left hobbling around in damaged boots. Halson then backs up about a half mile and with a good running start smacks his head into Bunyan's stomach. It feels like he hit solid rock and all the trees for five miles around lose their leaves. Paul Bunyan puts out his hand in welcome one more time and invites his adversary for biscuits and the rights to the title second best lumber jack in North America. His body still reeling in pain, Hals Halson eagerly agrees and from that day on they are the best of friends. Paul Bunyan remains the most popular of tall tales and this new adventure will be welcome by his fans. There are no source notes for the origins of this altercation between two formable giants. The tale is made bolder by the sturdy, chiseled illustrations that serve as a backdrop for the equally roughhewn landscape and heroes. The bully gets his comeuppance and that subtle message will be welcome by teachers addressing the issue of bullying. Whether to supplement a tall tale unit, or to simply read for enjoyment, or to use as a lesson in bullying, this one hits its mark. Reviewer: Beverley Fahey
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3—Paul Bunyan, "so big he had to watch out for those smaller than himself, so fast he had to work to be slow, and so strong he had to learn to be gentle," is lonely. When Hals Halson, a giant of a man, strides into camp, Paul extends his hand in friendship, but Hals is determined to prove who's the greatest lumberjack around. Rather than showing off his logging skills, he grabs Paul in a wrestling hold (which tickles), tries to toss Paul over his shoulder (like uprooting a redwood), and butts him in the stomach (knocking himself out). Paul helps the man to his feet, accepts his claim to be the second-best lumberjack in North America, and becomes his friend. An endnote tells of other tall tales about this legendary lumberjack, known for his goodness and humor in addition to his size and strength. The graphically manipulated art is in full color, portraying tall trees and dense forests as well as these two giants—only partially contained in some spreads. Pair this telling with Audrey Wood's The Bunyans (Scholastic, 1996) or Steven Kellogg's Paul Bunyan (HarperCollins, 1984).—Mary Jean Smith, Southside Elementary School, Lebanon, TN
Kirkus Reviews

Step aside, Paul Bunyan, Hals Halson has come to challenge you as the "greatest lumberjack in North America." When Paul suggests that instead of fighting they work as a team, Hals responds by attacking, first trying to wrestle ("That tickles," Paul says), then kicking him, then throwing him over his shoulder and finally charging headfirst into Paul's stomach—and the impact is so strong that all the trees for five miles lose their leaves. Every time Hals tries to harm him, Paul brushes his efforts aside. In the end, Paul waits for him to revive and hands him some fresh biscuits. Hals groans and stands up, "How'd you like to hire the SECOND best lumberjack in North America?" And so a "tall" tale of a strange friendship is born. The rustic, rough-hewn illustrations are bold, with a sculpted look that plays up the combatants' brawn and their outsized proportions; Babe is a vibrant, glowing blue. The author's note refers to the growth of Paul Bunyan tales but makes no mention of her source for Hals Halson, who is a far-flung character not found in most children's books about Bunyan, if any. That probably won't matter to kids, who will assume he's made-up, just like Paul.(Picture book. 5-8)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807563670
  • Publisher: Whitman, Albert & Company
  • Publication date: 3/1/2011
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 388,314
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.60 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 0.50 (d)

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