He was born on a night when a stormy wind blew;
Five minutes old, already six feet two.
Thus begins the story of Kansas’s own legendary hero and Paul Bunyan figure, Johnny Kaw.
Johnny Kaw: A Tall Tale by Devin Scillian presents the story in a format that children will love—playful verse accompanied by hilarious illustrations.
Young Johnny Kaw grows fast—too fast to stay in town, in fact. But when Johnny’s family moves west to find more room for their son to grow, the young man’s immense size proves to be a decided asset. Readers young and old are sure to chuckle as Johnny Kaw carries the family wagon across the river, tackles a tornado with a scythe, and pulls stones from his father’s field with his bare hands, incidentally creating the Rocky Mountains in the process.
The Johnny Kaw legend is of recent origin, having sprung up in Manhattan, Kansas, in 1955 to celebrate that town’s centennial. The original Johnny Kaw was a rather feisty man, known for keeping a wildcat and a jayhawk as pets and for having once settled a dispute with Paul Bunyan by plowing the bed of the Mississippi River with the latter’s face.
Parents will be happy to know that the new Johnny Kaw introduced in Scillian’s book is a gentle giant, displaying a tenderness that warms the heart.
Great read for youngsters and those who love all things Kansas!