CM March 8, 
1996. Vol. II, Number 21

image Paul Bunyan on the West Coast.

Tom Henry. Madeira Park, BC: Harbour Publishing, 1995. 56pp, paper, $12.95.
ISBN: 1-55017-109-7.

Subject Heading:
Bunyan, Paul (Legendary character)-Juvenile fiction.

Grades 4 and up / Ages 9 and up.
Review by Peter Ross Croskery.


Paul Bunyan on the West Coast is a fun read that blends tall tales and West Coast mythology to embellish the larger-than-life story of Paul Bunyan. "Some people say that Paul Bunyan was a New England logger and never set foot west of the Rockies. This is not true," says author Tom Henry, who goes on to present evidence to support his claim:

Paul logged up and down the Pacific Coast for years and there is plenty of evidence to prove it. Like the Gulf and San Juan Islands. Paul made those islands.

Henry's book is arranged in ten chapters, each relating a Paul Bunyan exploit, like "How Paul Made the Gulf Islands," "Paul's Camp," "Working in the Woods," "Paul's Enemies," and "The Fate of Paul Bunyan." Scattered throughout the text are cartoon-like illustrations by Governor General's Award-winning artist Kim La Fave.

Henry's humorous tall tales are refreshing:

So tall were the firs and hemlocks that it took eight men a week of looking to see the tops. They were so big around that fallers would die of old age making a cut and the next generation would finish it off.

It turns out Paul's life explains a great deal of the topographic evolution of British Columbia. When Babe, Paul's beloved Blue Ox, dies, Paul buries her in what are now the Olympic Mountains. The Alberni Inlet was created by Paul so his camp would be at seaside. And Paul created the channel between Vancouver Island and the mainland.


Closing off the book is a Glossary that includes definitions of logging terms and an index of people in Paul Bunyan's life.

This book will amuse young children because of the magic of the Paul Bunyan legend. Older children will see, and appreciate, the subtle humour scattered throughout the book. Definitely worth reading, this book will appeal to children and those who are young at heart.


Peter Ross Croskery is an Environmental Communications Specialist living in Grimsby, Ontario.

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Copyright © 1996 the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.

Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364