About SamiK

I'm a Library Director for a small(ish) Texas town with a desire to share my love of books and the library with my community.

Currently, I am working towards my MLS (Master of Library Science) from Texas Woman's University (my alma mater!).

When I'm not treading through a pile a school work and work work, I make precious memories with both my handsome men at home. Whether we are playing with the sand between our toes, making a campfire, or just taking in a movie at home, every moment is unique.

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September 26, 2015

LS5603 - Genre 2 - Traditional Literature


1. Bibliography

Isaacs, Anne. 1994. Swamp Angel. Ill. by Paul O. Zelinski. New York: Dutton Children's Books. ISBN 0-525-45271-0

2. Plot Summary

Angelica Longrider becomes one heroic frontiers woman after completing some enormous feats. One day she meets her match in another large character, Thundering Tarnation, the ravaging bear named for his victims' cries. This original tall tale coupled with the captivating illustrations makes for an intriguing tale of heroism with a splash of humor. 

3. Critical Analysis

Angelica is angel like no other. She does not have wings, a halo, or appear ethereal. Instead, she is a larger than life - literally - hero that uses her size to save the pioneers of Tennessee. Readers learn that perseverance and courage can lead to overcoming great obstacles, and they are encouraged to use their uniqueness to their advantage. Isaacs uses dialect to represent the historical elements of the time period and to make this a story worth sharing orally. 

Zelinski's illustrations complement this pioneer tale. The wood grain backgrounds provide a rustic look that accentuates the frontier elements of our characters. Through the pictures, readers can find added humor in serious scenes such as throughout the fight between Angel and Tarnation. To underline the size of our heroine, Zelinski portrays her bent over or laying down as if too large to fit the frames. 

4. Review Excerpts

  • Reviews in Booklist, SLJ, Horn Book Guide, and Publisher's Weekly. 
  • "It's an American classic in the making." - Wendy Lukeheart, School Library Journal. 2010. 

5. Connections

  • Combine with other tall tales, having students create their own hero/heroine. 
  • Use to initiate discussion of courage and overcoming obstacles. 
  • Talk about 1800s Tennessee and pioneers. 
  • Pair with the Oregon Trail.  


1. Bibliography

Kimmel, Eric A. 2009. The Three Little Tamales. Ill. by Valeria Docampo. New York: Marshal Cavendish Children. ISBN 978-0-7614-5519-6

2. Plot Summary

In this variant of the The Three Little Pigs, the Big Bad Wolf is hungry for some Mexican food instead of piglets. Instead of sticks, straw, and bricks, our tamales, who runaway out of fear of being eaten, settle into homes of sage, cornstalks, and cacti. This humorous rendition is expanded by Docampo's charming illustrations. 

3. Critical Analysis

Sprinkled with Mexican terms and set in Texas' rich Mexican culture, readers can be sure to end the story with a deeper understanding of the culture. Another of Kimmel's favorite characters make an appearance at the the fiesta thrown by the three tamales when the Senor Lobo unsuccessfully hunts the tamales. Kimmel provides readers with a culture filled tale about working hard and overcoming fear while capturing audiences with rhythm and a caliente story.  

Although Docampo used a cartoonish style to complement the fun tale, her illustrations authentically capture the Mexican culture. She uses the lines to move the story forward and add even more humor. Without the illustrations, the story would never have reached its success.  

4. Review Excerpts

  • Reviews in Booklist, SLJ, Horn Book Guide, and Publisher's Weekly. 
  • "An excellent addition to collections of fairy-tale retellings." - Shauna Yusko. Booklist. 2009.
  • Volunteer State Book Award (Tennessee) nominee, 2011. 

5. Connections

  • Display with other Three Little Pigs (or other folktales) retellings.
  • Use during Spanish Heritage Month for family/bilingual storytime. 
  • Have students build their own home out of household materials. 


1. Bibliography

Bruchac, Joseph. Reteller. 1993. The First Strawberries: a Cherokee Story. Ill. by Anna Vojtech New York: Dial Books for Young Readers. ISBN 0-8037-1331-2

2. Plot Summary

In this traditional Cherokee tale, readers learn about respect and friendship. When her husband comes home to find her picking flowers instead of preparing dinner, the Native American wife is hurt by his words and leaves with him following behind. As he grows increasing sorry the farther away she gets, her anger also increases. The Sun intervenes to reunite the couple in a way only nature can. 

3. Critical Analysis

Bruchac does an excellent job capturing the Cherokee culture. Readers find an accurate depiction of gender roles and a look at the spiritual elements of the tribe. The simple tale teaches readers the importance of friendship and respect.

Through authentic illustrations, Vojtech extends the tale into the actions of the characters and depiction of time. Although not over-the-top, the simplicity of the pictures accentuates the purity of the lesson.

4. Review Excerpts

  • Reviews in Booklist, Horn Book Guide, and Publisher's Weekly.
  • "The brief, readable story, accompanied by strong and spare illustrations, carries a valuable message about friendship and respect." - Horn Book Guide, 2010.

5. Connections

  • Read other Native American stories written by Joseph Bruchac. 
  • Have students create or decorate a traditional Native American craft. 
  • Pair with fresh strawberries (and blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries to depict all four tries of the Sun).
  • Read other stories about friendship. 


Rating System

IT WAS AMAZING!!!! You should be at the book store right now buying it! :)
I really liked it. You should def check it out and give it a shot
It was ok. At least read the synopsis on the back.
Eh....It was alright. It's borrow from a friend material.
Leave it on the shelf!!


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