American Tale Tales, by Mary Pope Osborne ISBN 0590464833
Five out of five stars
These tales are indeed tall, exaggeration is too light a word to use to describe the structure of the stories in this collection. As an example, here is the second sentence in the story about Paul Bunyan. “When he was only two weeks old, he weighed more than a hundred pounds, and for breakfast every morning he ate five dozen eggs, ten sacks of potatoes, and a half barrel of mush from a whole sack of cornmeal.” Now that is what you would call a whopper of an exaggeration.
The real/mythical people described in these stories are:
*) Davy Crockett
*) Sally Ann Thunder Ann Whirlwind
*) Johnny Appleseed
*) Febold Feboldson
*) Pecos Bill
*) John Henry
*) Paul Bunyan
Of course, Crockett and Appleseed were real historical figures, Crockett died a hero at The Alamo and thanks to Appleseed, many pioneer families found bearing apple trees when they arrived on the frontier. Others are lightly based on real people where the legend far outpaced their achievements.
This is a fun book to read, while other cultures may have similar myths, these are based on the people and environment of European based North Americans.