Audrey Wood has been writing children’s books for decades, and though she often does the illustrations herself, she’s not above inviting in outside help. Her husband, Don, and her son, Bruce, have both been involved with her stories. But kids who read a lot of books might notice another familiar name (or at the very least, parents might) on the Bunyans. David Shannon teams up with Wood this time, and while Wood does the storytelling, Shannon does all the illustrating.
With this tale, Audrey Wood takes the famous character of Paul Bunyan and extends his story into one that kids have never heard of before (until now). Instead of disappearing with Babe, his big blue ox, Paul actually manages to find a wife! A woman just his size named Carrie McIntie. Together they have two children, their boy Little Jean and daughter Teeny. Both kids are anything but small, though! As the pages turn, kids realize that the Bunyans are actually the ones responsible for so many of America’s natural wonders. Paul scooped out a spot for Teeny to wash up in, thus making Niagara Falls. Carrie uses her trusty pickaxe to poke holes in the ground so that hot water will gush up and she can do the dishes – which is why we now have geysers like Old Faithful at Yellowstone!
Kids will have a blast reading this tall tale, which can be made even better if they are familiar with a few tall tales in the first place. Wood makes sure that the story moves along smoothly, entertaining kids on each and every page. Everyone will have a bit of a giggle near the end when they see Paul and his wife getting older and playing croquet in the desert.
David Shannon provides kids with bold colors that leap off the page, such as Babe’s gorgeous blue coat.
His skills are quickly seen in the attention given to each illustration, done in rich paints. Just looking at the cover, kids will realize the Bunyans aren’t walking over grass, but through a forest! Great for ages 4 through 8.