Paul Bunyan on the West Coast


56 pages
ISBN 1-55017-109-7
DDC jC813'.54






Illustrations by Kim LaFave
Reviewed by Kelly L. Green

Kelly L. Green is editor of the Canadian Book Review Annual’s
Children’s Literature edition.


These tales of Paul Bunyan’s adventures on the West Coast are tall
indeed. We discover a great many things, including how Paul dug deep-sea
ports for Vancouver and Seattle at the request of a couple of
businessmen named Peter Puget and Billy Burrard; how Paul’s ranch
manager, to increase the ranch’s honey production, brought in a bunch
of giant bees from France that unfortunately mated with local mosquitoes
and produced fearsome beequitoes; and how Paul sought the unearthly
green-eyed whirling hodag that had the power to turn human beings into
deadwood. These, and many more amazing feats, make up Paul’s West
Coast legends.

Tom Henry has added considerably to Bunyan lore with this collection of
tales. His style is true to tall tales from across North America, and
the tales are full of the same endearing nonsense that make such stories
ever popular. (Did you know that when the Canadian navy dismantled
Paul’s cradle they were able to build three full-sized frigates plus
two supply schooners from the salvaged lumber, or that Mount Baker was
in B.C. until Babe the Blue Ox dragged it to the border, where it broke
away and slid into Washington state?) Kim LaFave’s illustrations
always remind me of Socialist Realism (remember Stalin’s huge,
stylized patriotic workers?), and they are perfect here. Highly


Henry, Tom., “Paul Bunyan on the West Coast,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 28, 2024,