Middle-Grade Review: Paul Bunyan: The Invention of an American Legend : A TOON Graphic by Noah Van Sciver


About This Book:

Did you know that a mainstay of American folk culture was in fact created as an advertising ploy?


Few people realize that Paul Bunyan, the legendary lumberjack, and his blue ox are the product of corporate marketing by a highly industrialized commercial enterprise.

Cartoonist NOAH VAN SCIVER shows us the myth creation as real life marketing man extraordinaire W.B. Laughead spins ever more wondrous tall tales. Van Sciver’s story is bracketed by rich contributions from contemporary Native artists and storytellers with a very different connection to the land that the Bunyan myths often conceal. Readers will see how a lumberjack hero, a quintessential American fantasy, captures the imagination but also serves to paper over the seizure of homeland from First Peoples and the laying bare of America’s northern forests. It’s a tall tale with deep roots . . . in profit-making!


*Review Contributed By Sara Perrera, Staff Reviewer*

Not Your Typical Story


This was my first introduction to the Toon Graphics series and I love how it takes the legend of Paul Bunyan and incorporates it into a graphic novel.

What I Liked: The legend of Paul Bunyan and his ox Babe is well-known, but this book goes beyond the typical stories you hear about Paul Bunyan. The book mentions how lumber companies destroyed forests and took Native American lands. I appreciated that the book didn’t shy away from discussing the unpleasant side of history. It led to some very candid discussions with my son.

What Left Me Wanting More: Children might not understand some of the humor, but overall I think this graphic novel is very engaging and informative.

This is a wonderful read for older elementary-aged children who love history and graphic novels.


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