Thursday, August 27, 2009

A Tall Tale Reborn

We recently enjoyed a brief summer getaway to Paul Bunyan Land, in Brainerd, MN. I'd never been there before and, although we inadvertently chose a rather grey stormy day, Lisa and I had a lot of goofy fun. (She still wouldn't go into the Haunted House with me...but I can't say I blame her. It looked precariously spooky.)

However, it was the gigantic Paul Bunyan statue that creeped me out. I already knew that he could speak directly to the park's visitors, sometimes even calling them by name, but I didn't know that the statue could move! When his big-as-melon eyeballs rolled toward us, branch-like lower lip opened, and enormous car-sized hand gave us a ponderously good-humored wave, we suddenly knew what Fay Wray must have felt like.

(Click on the pics for a much bigger image.)

The main purpose for the trek was to get my picture taken, at the request of editor Donald Lemke, for my new The Tall Tale of Paul Bunyan children's book due out from Stone Arch Books for the holidays. Apparently, they are planning something weird and fun with the "About the Author and Artist" page, and I certainly wanted to contribute.

Of course, the fact that there were dinosaurs also prowling around close by made this a perfect day, thunderstorms and all.

I always relate that there's a perennial nine-year-old residing inside me, and it was liberating to publicly let him loose for awhile.

No one there seemed to mind.


  1. That Paul Bunyan spoke to me when I was a wee lad. I still remember looking around for the guy speaking into the microphone. I remember the haunted house, too--if it's the same one; I've heard the original amusement park is no longer there. There was a room that had several hidden exits, and all but one of them looped around and plopped you right back in the same room.

    And did you mean to crop the edge of the photo with Babe so that the sign says, "Bunyan Nerd"?

  2. Regarding the picture of Babe and I, you'll have to take that up with the photographer.

    Only Lisa knows what she was thinking.

  3. I used to LOVE Paul Bunyan land when I was a kid! (And yes, that haunted house is the stuff of nightmares...)

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  5. Hey Martin!

    I'm the illustrator for PB! I didn't know you were writing this one too. Hope you liked what I did with the Ugly Duckling. Just wrapped the art for Paul. Nice work on the story especially the epic climatic ending!



  6. Aaron!

    I loved our THE UGLY DUCKLING, and PAUL BUNYAN is looking awesome, too.

    Many thanks for stopping by!