Perfect Picture Book Friday/ A Small Tall Tale

Hi Friends!

READING Annie to first graders at elementary school

READING Annie to first graders at elementary school

A lot has happened since last Friday. Even though it’s Spring Break here. First let me go back a little.

The previous week I did an author visit at Mountain View Elementary School with a wonderful librarian and wonderful kids. Here is a photo of me at my visit. This was my second time at that school. I got hugged and more than one child said they loved my book. They were also quick to tell me they liked the name Annie for my main character.

Earlier in the week I got shouted out at Cher Green’s blog “Footsteps of a Writer” on can creativity be taught? If you’d like to see my answer read mine among three other authors tell what they think here:

Wheew! That is such a long link. I haven’t tried but don’t think it would hyperlink.

Also I have been working hard on my current work in progress. My newest picture book. I’ve been getting up at four and writing for two hours every day. I must say, Critique has risen to a new high in my mind. I love my crit partners. I have received so many ideas and so much help. This story would not be a book without them. I think I’ll be ready to sub it soon. First I’m going to submit to Christie Write Wild for her winter contest and see what I can see through that.

 Now for the reason for this meeting:

A Small Tall Tale book cover by Peter Sis

A Small Tall Tale book cover by Peter Sis

Title: A Small Tall Tale

Author/Illustrator: Peter Sis

Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf, 1993, fiction

Themes: survival, Eskimos, Arctic Region, Tall tales, Nature, Resilience, Journey, interconnectiveness, Imagination, friendship,

Resources: From Peter Sis’s own web site we have a great teachers guide covering all the core standards.

What the Jacket says: One Hundred years ago a young man named Jan Welzl left his home in Europe and headed for the Far North. He rode off in a horse-drawn cart, traded the cart for a sled pulled by reindeer, and was gone for thirty years. Inspired by the memoirs of this Czech folk hero, Peter Sis has re-created an extraordinary Aortic odyssey. Mixing fact with tall tale, he paints the fascinating story of a little-known explorer and the native people who became his teachers and his friends. With maps, storyboards, panoramas, and even a myth told in pictographs, Peter Sis has concocted a visual feast.

A Small Tall Tale from the Far Far North charts unexplored territory in the world of picture books.

Why I love it: Like the other Peter Sis books I have reviewed for PPBF this one doesn’t disappoint. Sis’s art which he does in and around the text is so graphic and detailed it is another story in itself on each page. It’s hard to separate the two they compliment each other so perfectly. He says this arctic tale is about what he always thought were Eskimo as a child, but actually are Inuit. He did not mean anything derogatory by it. As his other books there is a message. This book’s message is that gold diggers soon ruined the villages of the Inuit and asks how can we save them from further exploitation? He points to a fictional gold magnetic rock.

There is an epilogue in which Sis says “the young man who went to the far north looking for adventure will always be real. And as I reread his books, I discover their essence: a curiosity about life, courage, decency, and a love of nature. This is what impressed me as a child and has once again fired my imagination.”

What books have you read recently that impressed you like that and fired up your imagination? Please answer in the comments. You know I live for them.

This is what the kid who reviews books says every Friday, Erik says

Susanna Leonard Hill has a feature on her blog called Perfect Picture Book Friday. It is a list of “perfect” picture books recommended by all sorts of people.

Have a GREAAT weekend Everyone!




About ClaraBowmanJahn

Journal writer. Author of "Annie's Special Day" And coauthor of Edmund Pickle Chin, A Donkey Rescue Story." Proud mother and grandmother of wonderful kids. Wife of brilliant husband. Servant of two cats. Member of Pennwriters and SCBWI.
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23 Responses to Perfect Picture Book Friday/ A Small Tall Tale

  1. Thank you Clar, for the lovely review on an interesting book. Sounds like an amazing adventure.
    Congrats on your author visit.


    • clarbojahn says:

      Thanks, Diane!

      It was fun reading to the kids and I do it again this coming week at a different school. two schools! I’m lot’s less nervous now.

      I think you’d like Peter Sis’s books. Hope you check him out. 🙂


  2. This sounds like historical fiction or folklore? Loved your review. I can imagine the artwork is a feast for the eyes. I love stories like this and Sis is so good.


    • clarbojahn says:

      Yes, Sis makes his pages work for him with art all around the parameter and thick into the illustration. There is a whole other story line in there. I am sure you’d like it for fun, Patricia. 🙂


  3. Peter Sis is always amazing. Thank-you for sharing this book.


  4. This sounds great – and a Sis book I didn’t know – SCORE!


  5. Hi Clar,
    Getting up at 4:00 a.m.? That’s what I call dedication. I’m so pleased to hear you’re on your second book. You go girl! 🙂


  6. Margot Finke says:

    WOW, 4am!! I used to do that, but these days I need my sleep. So happy your school visit went well. They can give you a real BOOST! Will have to read this new one from Peter Sis. Sounds awesome – as usual. How does the man do it?

    Books for Kids – Manuscript Critiques


  7. Joannana says:

    I do agree that good crit partners are priceless. Every book is such a work of collaboration! This is a Sis story I haven’t heard of, so many thanks.


  8. Rosi says:

    It looks like a wonderful book. I will have to check it out. Thanks for the review.


  9. Boy! This sure looks like a fascinating book! Pictures, story, words all sound intriguing! Thanks for sharing!


  10. Clar, you are such a busy author! School visits and early-morning work. I am glad you are having such a productive spring. I love Peter Sis too, and can’t wait to check this one out.


  11. Darlene says:

    This sounds like a wonderful book. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. Aren’t school talks so much fun? It looks like you are enjoying yourself.


  12. I LOVE Tall Tales! 😀


  13. Sounds excellent and I’ve always been a fan of tall tales. Peter Sis’s teacher’s guide is very comprehensive!


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