by Anne Issacs
Illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky
Hardcover, 48 pages
Published September 1, 1994
by Dutton Children’s Books
Book Source: Bought
Book Summary: This is an original story told in the American frontier tradition of tall tales. The Swamp Angel of the title is Angelica Longrider, who was born scarcely taller than her mother and didn’t build her first log cabin until she was a full two years old. In the tallest tale of all, Swamp Angel tracks down and fights Thundering Tarnation, a huge bear with a bottomless appetite. Swamp Angel’s victory comes only after she lassos the bear with a tornado and fights him all night in her sleep. Richly illustrated in the primitive style of early American painting, the story presents a heroine to match Paul Bunyan and other giants of folklore.
Mary’s Review: Angelica Longrider, better known as “Swamp Angel” became Tennessee’s greatest woods woman. She could do anything a man could do, only better. She could even fight a Hugh bear named Thundering Tarnation!
I loved this book. I love the old backwoods slang, the beautiful woodcut illustrations. Want to know how the Smoky Mountains got their name? How about how we got the Bear constellation? Then this book is a must read. It will bring a smile to your face and I promise your children will love it.
I recommend this book for ages 4-12.
About the Author: Author Anne Isaacs was born in New York and attended school at the University of Michigan. She said she was a constant reader, her life changing forever in the fourth grade when she first read Coleridge and Shakespeare. At her Web site, she said she has done literature backward, reading adult literature as a child and discovering children’s literature as an adult while reading to her children. Anne Isaacs was born in 1949. She is now a mother, educator, and children’s book writer. She lived in Canada before settling uwith her three children in San Francisco.
About the Illustrator: Paul O. Zelinsky grew up in Wilmette, Illinois, the son of a mathematics professor father and a medical illustrator mother. He drew compulsively from an early age, but did not know until college that this would be his career. As a Sophomore in Yale College he enrolled in a course on the history and practice of the picture book, co-taught by an English professor and Maurice Sendak. This experience inspired Paul to point himself in the direction of children’s books. His first book appeared in 1978, since which time he has become recognized as one of the most inventive and critically successful artists in the field.
He now lives with his wife in Brooklyn, New York. They have two grown daughters.
Among many other awards and prizes, he received the 1998 Caldecott Medal for his illustrated retelling of Rapunzel, as well as Caldecott Honors for three of his books: Hansel and Gretel (1985), Rumpelstiltskin (1987), and Swamp Angel (1995).