This book was adapted from Voice of America’s (VOA’s) “Children’s Story: Pecos Bill,” part of its Learning English: American Stories special English project. According to the VOA: This is a traditional American story called a "tall tale." A tall tale is a story about a person who is larger than life. The descriptions in the story are exaggerated – much greater than in real life. Long ago, the people who settled in undeveloped areas in America first told tall tales. After a hard day's work, people gathered to tell each other funny stories. Pecos Bill was a larger than life hero of the American West. No one knows who first told stories about Pecos Bill. Cowboys may have invented the stories. Others say Edward O'Reilly invented the character in stories he wrote for The Century Magazine in the early nineteen hundreds. The stories were collected in a book called “The Saga of Pecos Bill,” published in 1923.
Another writer, James Cloyd Bowman, wrote an award-winning children's book called “Pecos Bill: The Greatest Cowboy of All Time.” The book won the Newberry Honor in 1938. Pecos Bill was not a historical person. But he does represent the spirit of early settlers in the American West. His unusual childhood and extraordinary actions tell about people who believed there were no limits to what they could do.
This book can be read aloud with or without pictures. The book also offers an interactive audio track that can be played alone or while reading along with the text. Barbara Klein, the storyteller for this program, relates Pecos Bill’s story on the audio track.