Paula Bunyan

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Bounding with oversize visual and verbal humor, here is the previously untold story of Paul Bunyan’s “little” sister, who was as tall as a pine tree, as strong as a dozen moose, and could run so fast that she once ran all the way back to yesterday. As she heads to the North Woods in search of freedom and adventure, Paula uses her brains and brawn to surmount every challenge that comes her way, proving to ferocious animals that she’s their friend and becoming protector of a wild ...

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Overview

Bounding with oversize visual and verbal humor, here is the previously untold story of Paul Bunyan’s “little” sister, who was as tall as a pine tree, as strong as a dozen moose, and could run so fast that she once ran all the way back to yesterday. As she heads to the North Woods in search of freedom and adventure, Paula uses her brains and brawn to surmount every challenge that comes her way, proving to ferocious animals that she’s their friend and becoming protector of a wild wonderland.

Antic-filled artwork by Kevin O’Malley accompanies Phyllis Root’s text, a great read-aloud with a welcome eco-friendly twist at the end.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Root is a polished storyteller, and she’s got the yarnspinner tone down just right (“Now, folks say the mosquitoes up north are mighty bad, and I believe it’s true”). O’Malley trades his usual jazzy fluidity for a more period flavor, with rustic, hatching-rich linework anchoring digital colors, the result suggesting enjoyably cheesy early comics.” —Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

“The book presents such a happy pairing of writer and artist that we can now wish for stories about the sisters of John Henry, Mike Fink and Johnny Appleseed.” —New York Times Book Review

“Fun.”—Booklist

“Both the text and illustrations abound with exaggerated humor . . . a fun-filled read-aloud.” —School Library Journal

Jerry Griswold
…the book presents such a happy pairing of writer and artist that we can now wish for stories about the sisters of John Henry, Mike Fink and Johnny Appleseed.
—The New York Times
School Library Journal

Gr 2-5

This original tall tale introduces readers to Paul Bunyan's little sister, "tall as a pine tree and strong as a dozen moose," who leaves for the North Woods, a wilderness big enough to contain her and her window-shattering singing voice. There she tames a black bear "seven feet tall," teaches a pair of wolves to sing along with her, and devises an ingenious plan to stop lumberjacks from logging all the trees. Consistent with the genre, both the text and illustrations abound with exaggerated humor. Paula's parents send her off with a little snack of "two hundred and fifty-three loaves of bread, over a dozen wheels of cheese, several bushels of apples, twenty gallons of cider, and a barrel each of salt and pepper" to tide her over. O'Malley's white-framed, woodcutlike pictures, heavily outlined with intricate line shading, appear throughout this appropriately tall book. Sweeping panoramic views, Paula's thunderous voice depicted in large speech bubbles, bear-carrying mosquitoes, comical animal expressions, and energetic black-and-white drawings add to the fun. The timely environmental message is an added plus. Pair the escapades of this larger-than-life heroine with those of Steven Kellogg's Sally Ann Thunder Ann Whirlwind Crockett (HarperCollins, 1995) for a fun-filled read-aloud session.-Marianne Saccardi, formerly at Norwalk Community College, CT

Kirkus Reviews
Paula Bunyan, who could outwrestle her more famous brother Paul "three times out of six," gets tired of hauling ferries across the river on her shoulders and sets out for more open spaces where she can sing without breaking china and walk without running out of forest. She teaches the wolves to sing in three-part harmony (although in the folksy illustrations, they are actually singing a round of "Row Row Row Your Boat") and tames a bear by sharing her meal with him. She later rescues said bear from ravening mosquitoes, but when she decides to drive a passel of lumberjacks away, she lures the bloodsuckers to the loggers' camp, from which the chicken-sized insects make them "[take] off running like it was payday." Paula's eco-consciousness feels forced within the tall-tale context, particularly given Root's facility with the form. O'Malley's images are appropriately exaggerated, with saturated 19th-century colors and human expressions on wolves and bear. The text is printed on cream-toned stock, often with black-and-white vignettes contributing to the old-timey look. (Picture book. 5-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780374357597
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Publication date: 3/31/2009
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.20 (w) x 12.00 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

PHYLLIS ROOT has written over twenty books for children, including The Name Quilt, a Best Children’s Book of the Year, Bank Street College. She lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota. KEVIN O’MALLEY is the illustrator and co-author of the beloved Miss Malarkey series of picture books. He lives in Baltimore, Maryland.

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