Paul Bunyan: American Legend | American Landmarks

paul-bunyan-american-legend

We just finished term one using Ambleside Online (year 3 and year 4), and one of my favorite books was on Paul Bunyan. I read the boys Paul Bunyan Swings His Axe, written by Dell J McCormick. It was SUCH a fun book to read through and gave us all some good laughs.

Legends, or Tall Tales, are such a delightful form of storytelling and all the more so when they touch on subjects or locations we are already familiar with.

I mapped out a few of the locations to show them a sweeping picture of some of the adventures.

One chapter, called Paul Bunyan’s Camp on Onion River, briefly mentions the Red River Valley (you can see it on the map, above.) We had learned the folk song Red River Valley and that was a fun connection to build.

thousand-islandsPaul Bunyan Digs the St Lawrence River was my very favorite chapter. The St. Lawrence River was familiar to the boys from Paddle to the Sea so it was a treat to come back to a familiar place, but even better than that was the tall tale of how Paul Bunyan formed the Thousand Islands. It was a hoot, and was exciting to stumble upon as at the time of the reading we were hoping to visit the area, and actually made the trip happen in September!

(Not connected with Bunyan, but of special note in the Thousand Islands region is Boldt Castle. My sister and brother in law visited earlier this year and told us about it. We were able to stop here, too, on our trip and it was amazing!)

The Kingdom of North Dakota was another notable chapter that explains, in true tall tale fashion, why the state is so flat.

I see a whole lot of tall tales being made up by my boys thanks to our time delving in to this story book!
Having grown up in Canada I wasn’t overly exposed to American folk lore. We have since ventured into the book American Tall Tales by Adrien Stoutenburg.
Do you have a favorite book on American legends?

 

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3 Replies to “Paul Bunyan: American Legend | American Landmarks”

  1. This sounds like a fun book! I have heard the name Paul Bunyan before but (also being from Canada) did not even know if he was a real person or fictional – anyway, I found a copy of the book at a local store and it is now wrapped to go under the tree for some fun Christmas Eve reading!

    1. Fun!!! I hope you all enjoy it!
      Total aside, does Canada have legends?? I am totally drawing a blank!

      1. Good question! Hmmm there’s the Littlest Hobo but he was on tv and he was a dog:) Although a local station was playing old episodes of that show a few years ago and my kids loved it. Does Anne Shirley count? I really can’t think of any others outside of First Nations legends – I’m going to have to think more about it!

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