I Was Born about 10,000 Years Ago: A Tall Tale

Steven Kellogg, Author, Steven Kellogg, Illustrator Morrow Junior Books $16 (0p) ISBN 978-0-688-13411-2
Adding comical original verse and ebullient full-page art, Kellogg creatively embellishes the titular traditional tall-tale tune to wreak playful havoc with a number of historical happenings. The author first introduces a gleeful, coon-cap-wearing young narrator, who declares that he was born about 10,000 years ago ""and there's nothing in the world that I don't know."" The clever lyrics go on to place him and four additional kids smack-dab in the middle of a host of momentous events, including that fateful bite from an apple (""I saw Adam and Eve driven from the door.../ And I swear that I'm the one who ate the core""); the construction of the pyramids (""And for Pharaoh's little kiddies/ I built all the pyramiddies""); and the settlement of the American West (""Pecos Bill and I drove cattle/ Clear from Texas to Seattle""). Giving this whirlwind romp a futuristic spin, Kellogg ends with one of his young characters stocking a Saturn-bound rocket with enough plates of food to last until her return--when school gets out in June. Dominated by his trademark fluorescent tones, Kellogg's illustrations feature funny details and pleasingly silly anachronisms: the Sphinx sports a striped tie and a matching birthday hat, and Pecos Bill's cattle clamber up Seattle's Space Needle. A concluding invitation to kids to devise their own rhyming tale that ""stretches"" the truth makes this bouncy read-aloud doubly fitting for classroom use. Ages 5-up. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/02/1996
Release date: 09/01/1996
Prebound-Sewn - 978-0-613-09951-6
Prebound-Sewn - 978-0-613-37676-1
Library Binding - 29 pages - 978-0-688-13412-9
Prebound-Sewn - 978-0-606-15582-3
Paperback - 48 pages - 978-0-688-16156-9
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