Swamp Angel

( 2 )


Swamp Angel can lasso a tornado, and drink an entire lake dry. She single-handedly defeats the fearsome bear known as Thundering Tarnation, wrestling him from the top of the Great Smoky Mountains to the bottom of a deep lake. Caldecott Medal-winning artist Paul O. Zelinsky's stunning folk-art paintings are the perfect match for the irony, exaggeration, and sheer good humor of...

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Swamp Angel can lasso a tornado, and drink an entire lake dry. She single-handedly defeats the fearsome bear known as Thundering Tarnation, wrestling him from the top of the Great Smoky Mountains to the bottom of a deep lake. Caldecott Medal-winning artist Paul O. Zelinsky's stunning folk-art paintings are the perfect match for the irony, exaggeration, and sheer good humor of this original tall tale set on the American frontier.

A Caldecott Honor Book
An ALA Notable Book
A Time magazine Best Book of the Year
A New York Times Best Illustrated Children's Book of the Year
Winner of the Boston Globe/Horn Book Award
A Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year

Along with other amazing feats, Angelica Longrider, also known as Swamp Angel, wrestles a huge bear, known as Thundering Tarnation, to save the winter supplies of the settlers in Tennessee.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Zelinsky's (Rumpelstiltskin) stunning American-primitive oil paintings, set against an unusual background of cherry, maple and birch veneers, frankly steal the show here. Their success, however, does not diminish the accomplishment of Isaacs, whose feisty tall tale marks an impressive picture-book debut. Her energy-charged narrative introduces Angelica Longrider. ``On August 1, 1815,'' Isaacs begins, ``when [she] took her first gulp of air on this earth, there was nothing about the baby to suggest that she would become the greatest woodswoman in Tennessee. The newborn was scarcely taller than her mother and couldn't climb a tree without help.... She was a full two years old before she built her first log cabin.'' The story continues in this casually overstated vein, explaining how Angelica got the appellation Swamp Angel at the age of 12 after rescuing a wagon train mired in the mud. But the larger-than-life girl's reputation grows to truly gargantuan proportions when she bests an even larger bear, throwing him up in the sky, where "he crashed into a pile of stars, making a lasting impression. You can still see him there, any clear night." This valiant heroine is certain to leave youngsters chuckling-and perhaps even keeping a close watch on the night sky. Ages 5-9. (Oct.)
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-Newborn Angelica Longrider, ``scarcely taller than her mother,'' was a ``full two years old before she built her first log cabin.'' Thus begins Isaacs's original tall tale, and she captures the cadence of the genre perfectly with its unique blend of understatement, exaggeration, and alliteration. Set in Tennessee, it is the story of a resourceful young woman who rescued wagon trains ``mired in Dejection Swamp.'' Now she has set her sights on saving settlers from an enormous black bear named Thundering Tarnation and beating the lineup of male competitors in the process. Zelinsky paints his primitive views of Americana with oil on veneer, a choice that gives each page a grainy border, well suited to this backwoods tale. A master of composition, he varies readers' perspectives by framing the portrait of the newborn and, later, the series of male hunters with small ovals. He uses double-page lunettes to depict the massive bear and woman sprawled across the pages, and places the menacing beast lunging over the frame in another memorable scene. The pictures and words cavort across the page in perfect synchronization, revealing the heroine's feisty solution. Buy for a great guffaw in small groups or one-on-one. It's an American classic in the making.-Wendy Lukehart, Dauphin County Library, Harrisburg, PA
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3--Thundering Tarnation! With its good-natured, larger-than-life heroine and broad, fanciful paintings, this original Tennessee tall tale is exhilarating and side-splittingly funny. Dec. 1994
Hazel Rochman
Forget those images of angelic maidens, ethereal and demure. Angelica Longrider is the greatest woodswoman in Tennessee. She can lasso a tornado. She can toss a bear into the sky so hard that it is still on the way up at nightfall. She snores like a locomotive in a thunderstorm. Isaacs tells her original story with the glorious exaggeration and uproarious farce of the traditional tall tale and with its typical laconic idiom--you just can't help reading it aloud. The heroine was nothing special as a newborn baby ("scarcely taller than her mother and couldn't climb a tree without help . . . She was a full two years old before she built her first log cabin"). Zelinsky's detailed oil paintings in folk-art style are exquisite, framed in cherry, maple, and birch wood grains. They are also hilarious, making brilliant use of perspective to extend the mischief and the droll understatement. Sweetfaced Angelica wears a straw bonnet and a homespun dress, but she's a stalwart savior who comes tramping out of the mist on huge bare feet to lift a wagon train from Dejection Swamp. She is bent over in many of the pictures as if too tall to fit in the elegant oval frames. Pair this picture book with Lester and Pinkney's "John Henry" for a gigantic tall-tale celebration.
From Barnes & Noble
Here's the delightful tall-tale of Angelica Longrider, Tennessee's greatest woodswoman who built a cabin when she was two years old. Her legend grew when she scooped up a wagon train mired in a swamp when she was twelve years old, earning her the moniker Swamp Angel. But her biggest test was yet to come. When hunters fail to kill a huge bear with a bottomless appetite for settlers' grub, the Swamp Angel comes to the rescue. 9 1/4" x 12". Color illus. Ages 4-10
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780140559088
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 1/28/2000
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 340,776
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 4.06 (w) x 9.02 (h) x 0.13 (d)

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 17, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Great Tall Tale

    In the story of Swamp Angel, Angelica Longrider (aka Swamp Angel) is a town and state hero. From saving homes from burning down to picking up wagons trapped in the swamp marsh. One day a local bear begins stealing food rations from the settlers right before a long winter in Tennessee. This was no ordinary bear, he is fast, huge, has so much fur on his body that bullets never make it to his skin; he is giving the nickname Thundering Taranation. Well the settlers grow tired of this pest so they set up a contest to hunt down the bear. The hunt begins, Swamp Angel is the only hunter left and tangles with Thundering Taranation. To find out what happens next read this book.

    I enjoyed this book, the dialog in this book definitely brings the characters to life. This book is an easy read and children of all ages will enjoy this book. The illustrations bring more to the story of Angelica Longrider.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 17, 2006

    Swamp Angel

    Caldecott, A truly enjoyable folktale. Angelica Longrider is known to the settlers of Tennessee as 'Swamp Angel'. She is a giant girl-turned-woman who helps settlers in need. A giant bear is eating all of the settlers' food and they cannot stop him. Swamp Angel grabs the bear and throws him into the sky, where his imprint can still be seen today as a constellation. I love folktales of this nature. Anne Isaac was born in 1949, in Buffalo, New York. She now lives in the San Francisco Bay area. Bibliography Isaacs, Anne. Swamp Angel. New York: Dutton Children¿s Book, 1994.

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