Childrensbookstore.com Reviews "Johnny Kaw: A Tall Tale"
Childrensbookstore.com (Jun 2013)
American folklore is rich with larger-than-life characters who tamed the wilderness and shaped the landscape. We have Pecos Bill, Paul Bunyan and Johnny Kaw. Although Johnny Kaw is a relatively recent addition to American folklore, his story is well developed and truly American.
Five minutes after Johnny was born he was already bigger than his father. Soon, Johnny has grown the family’s house, so the family packs up and moves to where Johnny has room to move around. The family moves west, to unsettled territory. Johnny helps his parents to build a beautiful home. When it comes time to plant crops, Johnny again saves the day by clearing all the large boulders and throwing them westward…can you guess what became of all those large rocks? After all Johnny’s hard work helping to get the family settled, a tornado threatens to destroy it all, but Johnny won’t have it! In the end, Johnny clears all the trees from Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas, making what we know as the Great Plains, all in memory of his dear mother.
This book has so much potential for discussion following the reading. Discuss what words rhymed. What made this story a tall tale other than Johnny’s size? Ask the child how they might end the story differently or have them tell their own tall tale.
Devin Scillian captures the legend of Johnny Kaw is a way that is sure to please all audiences. The rhythm and rhyme of the story keep the reader turning pages—anxiously anticipating the next step in the story. Scillian proclaims that his children’s books are “equal parts smiles, sighs, laughs, and goose bumps.”
Brad Sneed’s Illustrations thoroughly capture the fantastic deeds of Johnny Kaw. The dreamy pictures allow the reader to explore the scenes and take part in the story. You can see more of Sneeds’s illustration works here.
This is book that parents and children will enjoy together. It will spark imagination and can be a starting point for discussions on myriad topics from giants to how America came to be what it is today.
—Childrens Bookstore Staff