cover image The Bunyans

The Bunyans

Audrey Wood. Blue Sky Press, $16.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-590-48089-5

One of the rootin'-est, tootin'-est, riproarin'-est heroes of American tall tales is given a whole new lease on life as Wood imagines an entire family of Bunyans. When Paul, the legendary lumberjack, meets Carrie McIntie, a giantess ""banging a behemoth pickax against a wall,"" it's love at first sight. They produce two children, a ""jumbo boy"" named Little Jean and a ""gigantic girl"" named Teeny. Wood (The Napping House) exuberantly blends outrageous exaggeration with fantastical geography lessons: Pa Bunyan scoops out Niagara Falls to enable Teeny to shower an infestation of pesky bears from her maple syrup-ridden hair; Ma Bunyan creates Old Faithful by poking holes in Wyoming with her pickax to release hot water for the laundry and dishes; and so on. Shannon (The Amazing Christmas Extravaganza) joins Wood in this rollicking ride with archly humorous illustrations. Who can resist a retired Ma and Pa Bunyan, for example, dressed in leisure wear and playing croquet in the desert? Author and artist clearly had fun here, and readers undoubtedly will, too. Ages 4-9. (Oct.)