Texas Tales and Folklores

Books to Share

  • The Bootmaker and The Elves by Susan Lowell.
  • Follow the Drinking Gourd by Jeanette Winter.
  • How the Critters Created Texas by Francis Edward Abernathy.
  • I Know and Old Texan Who Swallowed a Fly by Donna D. Cooner.
  • Sally Ann Thunder Ann Whirlwind Crockett: A Tall Tale by Steven Kellogg.
  • A Spoon for Every Bite by Joe Hayes.

Books to Show or Booktalk

  • Best Stories from the Texas Storytelling Festival edited by Finley Stewart.
  • Best Tales of Texas Ghosts by Docia S. Williams.
  • Dog Ghosts and Other Negro Tales by John Mason Brewer.
  • Texas Folk Songs by William A. Owens.
  • Texas Haunted Forts by Elaine Coleman.


Lead the children in singing, "On Top Of Old Smokey." You will find it in Texas Folk Songs on page 97.


Cardboard Walking Doll

(From Texas Toys and Games edited by Frances Edward Abernathy)


  • Doll and shoe patterns
  • Cardboard or construction paper
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Brads


Copy the doll and shoe patterns, glue them to construction paper, and cut them out. Attach the feet to the doll with a brad. Moving the doll slightly forward or backward will create the appearance that it is walking.

Cup and Ball

(From Texas Toys and Games edited by Frances Edward Abernathy)

cup and ball


  • Paper cups
  • Straws
  • String
  • Styrofoam balls


As shown in the illustration, poke a hole through the bottom of a paper cut and slip a straw through. Tape it so that it is secure. The straw will be used as a handle. Cut a piece of string at least twice as long as the total length of the straw and cup. Tie a foam ball to one end of a string. Tie the other end to the straw near the base of the cup. The object of the toy is to catch the ball in the cup.

Games and Activities

Quilt Squares

Use Texas quilt patterns to make a library quilt to hang in the library or raffle off to benefit the library. The Quilt-Block History of Pioneer Days by Mary Cobb is one useful source.

Slumber Party

Have slumber part at the library and tell ghost stories.

Texas Sayings and Proverbs

Let the children try to decipher some of these Texas sayings and proverbs from The Best of Texas Folk and Folklore, page 214-227. Spanish sayings and proverbs are also included in those pages.

  • He might as well try to eat sugar (or soup) with a knitting needle.
  • He does not amount to a hill of beans.
  • When he says, "frog," she jumps.
  • He sits around like a notch of a stick.
  • The house was seven ways for Sunday, or the house was every way for Christmas.
  • He's as polite as a basket of chips, or sugar wouldn't melt in his mouth.
  • His name is Mud.
  • Don't kick till you're spurred.
  • You can't hear your ears in this place.
  • This pony paces like a rocking chair.

Creative Drama

Read "Frog's Gone A-Courting" and let the children act it out.

Programs and Guest Speakers

Tell a tall tale concerning a historical figure such as Daniel Boone, Jim Bowie, or Davy Crockett, or a character from folklore such as Pecos Bill.

Invite a storyteller tell Texas folk stories.


  • American Tall Tale Heroes. (15 minutes)
  • Pecos Bill. (30 minutes)

Web Sites

Folklife Scavenger Hunt Worksheet

Folklore and Folklife from the Handbook of Texas Online

Professional Resources

  • Best of Texas Folk and Folklore 1916-1954 edited by Mody C. Boatright.
  • Texas Toys and Games edited by Frances Edward Abernathy.


Texas Reading Club 2002 Programming Manual / Read Across Texas!

Published by the Library Development Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission

Page last modified: June 14, 2011