Isaacs, Anne. Swamp Angel. New York: Dutton Children’s Books, 1994. ISBN: 0140559086
This is the story of the greatest woodswoman to ever live in Tennessee. It follows some of her greatest accomplishments, which includes her birth, building log cabins when she was two years of age, saving people stuck in mud, and her famous wrestle with the most ferocious and hard to kill bear, Thundering Tarnation.
This is a story that kids will absolutely love! From the beginning, you know that the exaggeration is to make for a fantastic tale.Kids ages 0-100 will be mystified by the Swamp Angel, a woman so big, she could wrestle bears, pull wagons out of the mud, and so talented that she could build a log cabin by age two. This book is very descriptive with alliterations such as “buckskin bravery” and slang like “varmint.” Isaacs book is so well written that when you are reading it, you feel like you’re in Tennessee in the 1800’s. You are transported to a time and place long passed. The bulk of the story is composed of the Swamp Angel’s battle with the ferocious bear, Thundering Tarnation. The way she describes every bit of the fight makes it fun to listen to. It also explains some legend in it. Swamp Angel took Thundering Tarnation’s pelt and spread it across Montana. It’s what we call the Shortgrass Prairie. This book is a very fun read and a wonderful addition to any tall tale module. I also like that it’s about a woman. When you think of tall tales, off the top of your head you’ll say Johnny Appleseed, John Henry, Pecos Bill. Well, move over boys! Swamp Angel is one lady not to be messed with!
Caldecott Winner 2015
From School Library Journal: “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.”
From Publisher’s Weekly: “This valiant heroine is certain to leave youngsters chuckling-and perhaps even keeping a close watch on the night sky.”
From The Horn Book: “Visually exciting, wonderful to read aloud, this is a picture book to remember.”
Other Books by Anne Isaacs:
Meanwhile Back at the Ranch ISBN:0375867457
Pancakes for Supper ISBN: 0439644836
Dust Devil ISBN: 0375867228
Books Related (Perfect for an American Tall Tale lesson):
John Henry by Julius Lester ISBN: 0140566228
Paul Bunyan by Steven Kellogg ISBN: 0688058000
Pecos Bill by Steven Kellogg ISBN: 0688140203
The Maid of the Mist by Tanya Anderson ISBN: 1477771298