Picks and Pans Review: Paul Bunyan

updated 09/10/1990 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 09/10/1990 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Read by Jonathan Winters

"Look how big he is," said my 4-year-old son, Nick, getting to the heart of the legend. And from Winters's spirited narration through Rick Meyerowitz's cartoony illustrations and Leo Kottke and Duck Baker's bouncy backwoods music, the story of "the greatest loggin' man there ever was" moves along with remarkable flair and zest. Taking delight in the tall tale, adapter Brian Gleeson provides vivid supporting roles for Paul's gigantic blue ox, Babe, and the loggers' indefatigable cook, Hot Biscuit Sally.

Convincing enough for my daughter Kate, 8, to demand, "Is this true?" the tape also provides a thoughtful, late-20th-century message. This time the story ends with Bunyan, noticing the depletion of natural resources, still alive but "plantin' trees now instead of choppin' 'em down."

Though Mom found it charming and Kate declared it "funny," Nick demurred: "I liked this worse than the wolf story."

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