America's Tallest Tales

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America's Tallest Tales

An Easy-to-Use Language Arts Play for Elementary and Middle School

Grades 3-7
35 minutes
$39.95
(2 or more Book/CD sets @ $30 each)

In Stock.

Includes script, teacher's guide, and audio CD. The CD has all the songs recorded twice: first with singing, so you and your students can learn the songs, and then without voices so your students can perform without us singing along.

And if you ever have any trouble or questions, you can contact us at any time for help.

 

Order Now!

For individual teachers/classes:
Book/CD - $39.95 for 1, $30/ea for 2+
Hint: order 1 for each teacher. (details)

For 3+ teachers or whole schools:
Site License - $75.00
Comes with 3 copies of book/CD plus unlimited photocopying rights (details)
School/site name:

Musical extras:
Piano/Guitar Score - $9.95 (details)
Extra/Replacement CD - $9.95

Or order by phone, fax or PO

This 30-minute musical play can be done as a complete play, skits, reader's theater, or you can just sing songs. No music or drama experience needed!

Extra! Extra! Babe Vanishes! Paul Bunyan Vows to Find his Blue Ox

Babe's disappearance is a BIG mystery---he's so large that a crow once got lost flying between his horns! Now Paul Bunyan -- with the help of Bess Call, the strong-armed, cattle-friendly heroine of the Adirondacks -- is criss-crossing America in search of his missing companion. Has Pecos Bill rustled the big ox? Did Annie Christmas, Queen of the Mississippi keel-boaters, borrow him to pull her boat up the river? In the course of their adventures, Paul and Bess run into John Henry, Alfred Bulltop Stormalong, and a host of other stars of American folktales.

America's Tallest Tales is a great complement to your curriculum resources in elementary school language arts. And, like all of our plays, this show can be used to improve reading, vocabulary, reading comprehension, performance and music skills, class camaraderie and teamwork, and numerous social skills (read about it!) -- all while enabling students to be part of a truly fun and creative experience they will never forget!

Author: Ron Fink (Composer) and John Heath (Book and Lyrics)
ISBN: 978-1-886588-13-4
© 1998 Bad Wolf Press, LLC

"It was the most rewarding experience that I have had as a teacher for a long time. The kids did an extraordinary job; they were so proud of each other. They were truly thrilled to be a part of it. Parents loved the production, and were very proud too. One dad was crying at the end, becuase he was so shocked and proud of his daughter. Thanks for your awesome work, everyone here in our little town loves the play. Lots of work, but well worth the effort."

---Betsy Randall, Teacher, (5th grade), Elllsworth Elementary, Ellsworth, MI

"We laugh every rehearsal! The kids are very into deciding what props are needed most. This year we've had very limited time to get a 6th grade musical in. The students took their ideas and ran with them---doing outside work on their own and surprising me with their creativity and drive!"

---Michele Carle Bisch, Teacher (6th grade) St. Ann School, Cincinnati, OH

"Just letting you know that our presentation of 'America's Tallest Tales' in May with forty-two third graders here in Marshall, MI was just incredible. Thank you, thank you! They absolutely loved the songs, the skits, etc. They looked and sounded tremendous! I was so incredibly proud! We packed our gym with parents, grandparents, etc. Even our superintendent attended! I know that the kids came away with some wonderful memories that will probably last a lifetime! We play to do another Bad Wolf musical next year!"

---Jennefer Bachelder, Teacher (3rd grade), Shearman Elementary, Marshall, MI

"I loved everything about it! The songs were contagious and the lines clever. I am not a performer at all but was able to pull it off easily. It gave a tremendous boost to the kids' self-esteem and class morale! Passive kids suddenly 'shined.' Plus the parents loved it."

---Kelli Finigan, Teacher (4th grade), White Oak School, Westlake Village, CA

"The easy-to-follow script, catchy songs, and added humor make the play production a delight for all (students, teachers, and parents! Besides using the plays to give my students another avenue to strengthen/inspire their creativity, the plays work well as supplemental textbooks/teaching aids. The students love to learn the information in the play format.

---Lisa Boothe, Teacher, (3rd/5th grade), Carl Hankey School, Mission Viejo, CA

"I just wanted to say thank you. It was a huge hit! I was told it was the best performance someone had ever seen at an elementary school. It went so well, my fellow third grade teacher and I are planning on getting the combo pack!"

---Charlene Burns, Teacher, (3rd grade), Irving Elementary School, Joplin, MO

"I really liked the 'hokey-ness' of the music. My students needed to get a bit improper! We sang and danced---it was the talk of the town."

---Christina Clark, Teacher (5th/6th), Romer Corners Intermediate, Oregon, WI

"The students loved this! Great songs."

---Patricia Bell, Teacher (4th/5th grade), Norma Coombs School, Pasadena, CA.

"Not only do my students learn so much about the people in the play, but they also become so much more confident in their speaking ability!"

---Gina Rafael, Teacher (6th grade) Leal Elementary, Cerritos, CA

Casting

Flexible casting from 11-40 students.
Use as many Cowtones, Ransom Notes, Deckswabs etc. as desired.
One student can easily play several roles if needed. Note that all roles
are not gender-specific: Paul can easily be play by a girl, for example.

Script

This is the first one-third of the script:

CHARACTERS:

Paul Bunyan
Bess Call and Farm Animals
Pecos Bill and the Cowtones
Trio: Johnny Appleseed, Betty Bananapeel, Paula Prunepit
Annie Christmas
The Ransom Notes
John Henry
Captain Alfred Bulltop Stormalong and the Deckswabs
Babe, the Blue Ox
Lumberjacks
Storytellers and a Chorus made up of all students who are not playing
roles at the time.

(The CLASS faces audience and sings:)

Song 1 - Listen now!

CLASS:
You know the stories about Pecos Bill
John Henry’s hammer is a’ringing still.
Paul Bunyan had a great big ax
He was king of the lumberjacks.

Maybe these stories are a bit far-fetched
Maybe truth is a wee-bit stretched.
Tales silly as a tale can get
Oh but you ain’t seen nothing yet.

You’re gonna shout
You’re gonna holler
You’re gonna shout out loud
You’re gonna holler, holler, holler
We took tall tales
And made them taller.

INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS OF CLASS (spoken):
You know the stories about Pecos Bill
John Henry’s hammer is a’ringing still.
Paul Bunyan had a great big ax
He was king of the lumberjacks.

INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS OF CLASS (sung):
Maybe these stories are a bit far-fetched
Maybe truth is a wee-bit stretched.
Tales silly as a tale can get
Oh but you ain’t seen nothing yet.

ENTIRE CLASS:
You’re gonna shout
You’re gonna holler
You’re gonna shout out loud
You’re gonna holler, holler, holler
We took tall tales
And made them taller.

Now they’re so big
They’re bustin’ the scales
America’s tallest
America’s tallest
America’s tallest tales.

(CLASS takes its place as STORYTELLERS come forward)

STORYTELLER: Yep. For those of you who never heard of Paul Bunyan,
well you must have been livin’ in a city all your life. ’Cause Paul Bunyan
was the biggest, toughest lumberjack this country’s ever known.

STORYTELLER: One day Paul woke up and found that his best friend,
the giant blue ox named Babe, was missing! After flippin’ over a few
mountains and wadin’ across the Great Lakes, he did the only
reasonable thing a man who has lost his giant blue ox could do—he
put an ad in the paper.

Song 2 - Listen now!

PAUL (stepping forward, ax in hand):
Missing
One blue ox
There’s a huge reward if found
Missing
One big ox
Takes three days to walk around
Or four days if you’re slow
Missing
Oh I’m missing my Babe so.

Missing
One blue ox
He eats pancakes by the crate
Missing
One big ox
He’ll pull a winding road out straight
There’s nothing he can’t tow
Missing
Oh I’m missing my Babe so.

CHORUS:
What has become of you Babe?
What are you going through?
Paul spends his day
Pining away
He’s as blue as you.

PAUL and CHORUS:
Missing
One blue ox
There’s a huge reward if found
Missing
One big ox
Takes three days to walk around
Or four days if you’re slow
Missing
Oh I’m missing my Babe so.
Oh I’m missing my Babe so.

STORYTELLER: Yep, Paul sure did miss that blue ox. So he went to ask
for help from his old friend Bess Call.

STORYTELLER: Bess lived with her brother on a farm in New York. It
took Paul several minutes to walk there from Maine.

(We see PAUL walk across stage towards BESS CALL, who holds a hoe
in one hand and a horse in the other. Really. Several FARM ANIMALS
stand by her side.)

STORYTELLER: Bess was the biggest, toughest farmer on the East Coast.
She knew more about cows and horses and sowin’ and reapin’ than
anybody else.

STORYTELLER: Paul figured she’d know where to look for a missin’ ox.

PAUL: Please, Bess, you gotta help me find Babe.

BESS: I can’t. I’ve got too much to do.
(sings)

Song 3 - Listen now!

Got my plowing to complete
I pull the plow with my own feet
The plowshare melted from the heat

FARM ANIMALS:
Shoo bee doo, shoo bee doo, shoo

BESS:
All I’ve got is this small hoe
Thirty acres left to go
It will take an hour or so.

FARM ANIMALS:
Shoo bee doo bee doo

BESS and FARM ANIMALS:
I’ve got so much to do
Sorry Paul
Sorry Paul
I’m so busy I can’t help you now.

PAUL: Bess, I know you’re busy, but...

BESS:
50 horses left to shoe
Not an easy thing to do
That will take an hour or two

FARM ANIMALS:
Shoo bee doo, shoo bee doo, shoo

BESS:
It’s hard work, you understand
Lifting horses off the sand
I shoe them with my other hand.

FARM ANIMALS:
Shoo bee doo bee doo

(SHE lifts horse again)

BESS and FARM ANIMALS:
I’ve got so much to do
Sorry Paul
Sorry Paul
I’m so busy I can’t help you now.

PAUL: Bess, you’re my only chance.

BESS (speaks): I got so thirsty this July
That water’s now in short supply
I drank a dozen wells bone dry.

ANIMALS:
Shoo bee doo, shoo bee doo, shoo

BESS (speaks): I dug 2 miles down this afternoon
Using just a fork and spoon
I’d better find some water soon.

FARM ANIMALS:
Shoo bee doo bee doo

BESS and FARM ANIMALS:
I’ve got so much to do
Sorry Paul
Sorry Paul
I’m so busy I can’t help you now.

(We see PAUL get an idea—he snaps his fingers)

PAUL: Hey, I’ve got an idea. We can help each other out.

BESS: How?

PAUL (speaks): Every step my Babe will take
Leaves a crater in its wake
Each would make a perfect lake

CHORUS & FARM ANIMALS:
Shoo bee doo, shoo bee doo, shoo

PAUL (sings):
Help me find my ox of blue
We’ll make tons of lakes for you
We’ll throw in an ocean too.

BESS: It’s a deal, Paul.

BESS, FARM ANIMALS, and CHORUS:
I’ve got so much to do
You help me
I’ll help you
We’ll help each other just like friends should do…Yeah!

(PAUL and BESS shake hands.)

STORYTELLER: Yep. Bess was ready to help. But how?

STORYTELLER: Bess had only one idea, but it was a real good one.
Pecos Bill, King of the Texas cowboys, was well known for his wild
cowboy ways.

STORYTELLER: Bess thought that Pecos Bill might have caught Babe
in one of his roundups.

STORYTELLER: Yep.

STORYTELLER: So Paul and Bess scooted across the country to
Amarillo to ask Pecos Bill what he knew about Babe.

(WE see PAUL and BESS move across stage, where they meet PECOS
BILL and his COWTONES.)

PECOS BILL: I’m shocked! Shocked, I tell you. You think I, moi, Pecos
Bill would stoop to stealing cattle?

BESS: You’ve always been sneaky, Bill, you know that.

BILL: I’ve given up my rough ways, Bess.

PAUL: But you’re the strongest, toughest cowboy in the country.

BILL: Not any more. I’m a man of taste now. I’ve changed my ways.

Song 4 - Listen now!

COWTONES:
Raised by coyotes in the Texas wild
Pecos Bill was a peculiar child.
Rode on a panther as the ground would shake
Lassoing grizzlies with a rattle snake.

BILL:
Yeah I was crazy in my younger days
We’re all entitled to a rowdy phase.
Now I’m sophisticated and so suave
I listen to opera, I dress in mauve.

COWTONES:
Pecos Bill
Pecos Bill
King of the Cowboys
Our hero still

PECOS BILL:
I’ve traded in my saddle for ink and quill

COWTONES:
Ride on
Ride on
Ride on
Ride on Pecos Bill.

Once in a drought we were as dry as bone
Bill went and lassoed us a big cyclone.
Rode that tornado to the Texas plain
Gave it a bearhug ’til it poured down rain.

PECOS BILL:
Yeah I was crazy in my younger days
Now I got culture and I’ve changed my ways.
I know the subtleties of who and whom
Pecos William is my nom de plume.

COWTONES and CHORUS:
Pecos Bill
Pecos Bill
King of the Cowboys
Our hero still

PECOS BILL:
I’ve traded in my saddle for ink and quill

COWTONES and CHORUS:
Ride on
Ride on
Ride on
Ride on Pecos Bill.

BILL: Beethoven’s Ninth symphony is my favorite.

COWTONES and CHORUS:
Ride on
Ride on
Ride on
Ride on Pecos Bill.

BILL: I think Shakespeare’s Hamlet is deeply moving.

COWTONES and CHORUS:
Ride on
Ride on
Ride on
Ride on Pecos Bill.
(THEY exit)

(This concludes the first one-third of the script.)

Sample Songs

Click on the song name to hear samples. Please note that internet song samples have low fidelity and rest assured that the CDs we sell sound much better! (This player requires Flash. If you have any trouble hearing the samples, just contact us for help.)


Full Song List

1. "America’s Tallest Tales" (opening)
2. "Missing"
3. "I’ve Got So Much to Do"
4. "Ride On Pecos Bill"
5. "I’m Annie Christmas"
6. "Load a Hundred Boxcars"
7. "A Hammer in My Hand"
8. "Come Along"
9a. "I Need Pancakes"
9b. "Paul Needs Babe Back"
10. "America’s Tallest Tales" (ending)

Common Core and Other National Standards

Language Arts

History/Social Studies

Fine Arts

  • National Music Standards 1, 2, 6, 7, and 8 for K-4th, Standard 1 for 5th-8th
  • National Theater Standards 2, 3, 6, 7, and 8 for K-4th, Standards 2 and 6 for 5th-8th
  • National Dance Standards 1 and 2 for K-4th

Vocabulary

lumberjack
far-fetched
holler
pining
sowing
reaping
plowing
plowshare
acre
“bone dry”
crater
wake
moi
peculiar
lassoing
grizzlies
entitled
rowdy
sophisticated
suave
mauve
quill
bearhug
subtleties
nom de plume
Beethoven’s Ninth
symphony
Hamlet
keelboats
Civil War
Douglas fir
shellac
chic
ebony
teak
hewing
lowing
potassium
Mona Lisa
plunge
earlobe
time zone
English channel
Cliffs of Dover
griping
refined
wrangler
flamenco

Vocabulary From Stage Directions
instrumental
notorious
nautical
jig