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Tailypo! Hardcover – April 15, 1991

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

An old man is visited in his lonely cabin by "a Creature with a great , big , long tail." He lops the tail off, cooks it up and gobbles it down--thus earning several nocturnal visits from the Creature, who demands the return of his "tailypo" and finally achieves it by ingesting the old man. Wahl's ( Humphrey's Bear ) lively but vividly gruesome African-American tale is best suited to children at the upper end of the suggested range and to those who can tolerate a scary story. It uses onomatopoeia and repetitions effectively to build tension, and would be especially shivery if read aloud. Clay, making his children's book debut, adds acrylics that are evocative of setting and mood and in some cases quite gory in their own right. Occasionally, however, a predominance of neon pinks and oranges results in a garish rather than supernatural effect. Ages 5-8.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Grade 2-4-- When a creature invades his cabin, an old black man takes a hatchet and whacks off its tail, thus causing his own demise. Clay's pictures are done in acrylic shades that shift from warm fire-tones like orange and pink to cold, crisp blues and purples. They create a scary and highly graphic accompaniment to this succinctly retold African-American tale. In Joanna Galdone's The Tailypo (Houghton, 1984), Paul Galdone's illustrations are tame and cartoon-comical compared to this realistic, almost gory version. Blood splatters out when the tail is cut off; a frightened owl in a wall clock peeks with one eye as the varmint overcomes the man. Another peculiar, almost macabre touch is a photograph of a woman on the wall that changes expressions and poses throughout the story. Galdone's illustrations leave much to readers' imaginations, while Clay interprets the action literally and skillfully. Wahl's narration is shorter and less lyrical in description than in the earlier version; gone is Galdone's eerie tone and prose through which the suspense is allowed to mount. Because of Clay's illustrations, this new offering is not for the squeamish. --Marianne Pilla, formerly at Upper Dublin Public Library, Dresher, PA
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 7 and up
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR); 1st edition (April 15, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805006877
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805006872
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.4 x 10.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,345,393 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Teacher Lady on September 24, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is, hands down, my favorite children's book. When i was in preschool, my teacher made us "tails" out of yarn so we could play Tailypo. My original copy of the book has a page torn in two from when my brother was 3 and I was 10. I hid under his bed while my mom was reading him Tailypo and pretended I was the creature. He freaked and accidentally tore the page. I mended it, and I've been using it in my classroom (special education, first through fifth grade) ever since. Yes, it's scary. It's about a monster and at the end the monster kills the main character. But it is so much fun, and kids' stories that are pure puppies and rainbows bore me. My students love to "scritch, scritch, scritch" on the carpet when I read it just like The Creature, and if its not too scary for 7 year old autistic kids, it should be good for yours. I just had my first child, and I had to get a fresh copy of the book for him so he can grow up with it, too.

Update: My son is now 20 months, and this is one of his favorite books. My kiddo also loves to scratch his fingers on the couch along with the "scritching" of the Creature. I grab him and "gobble him up" at the end when the Creature eats the old man. We also play Tailypo by making a tail out of yarn and acting out the story. (It's mostly tag.)
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My favorite childhood scary story. Although this version is different, and much less dark, it is still a good story, especially for Halloween coming up.
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