Elementary Programs Chapters

By Bonnie Langan and Anne Neidinger

Deep in Texas Tall Tales

Books to Share

Cowboy and the Black-eyed Pea by Tony Johnston.

The Legend of the Bluebonnet by Tomie dePaola.

The Legend of the Indian Paintbrush by Tomie dePaola.

Legend of Pecos Bill by Terry Small.

Why Cowgirls are Such Sweet Talkers by Laurie Knowlton.

Why Cowboys Sleep with Their Boots On by Laurie Knowlton.


Deep in the Heart of Texas

Lyrics and a MIDI file are on the NIEHS Kids Page at http://kids.niehs.nih.gov/lyrics/texas.htm.

The Yellow Rose of Texas

A MIDI file and lyrics on the NIEHS Kids Page at http://kids.niehs.nih.gov/lyrics/yellowrose.htm.

Riddles and Jokes

Select jokes to tell from Texas! 500 Jokes of the Lone Star State by Boyce House. Visit Texas Tales, Jokes and Anecdotes by John Watson at http://buckcreek.tripod.com/texas.html and select some jokes to tell.

Knock Knock.

Who’s there?


Beep who.

Beep Beep Roadrunner

Knock Knock.

Who’s there?


Summer who?

Summer Reading Club is here!

Reader’s Theatre

The Cowboy Who Cried Coyote

Let the children read, “The Cowboy Who Cried Coyote” by Gayle Travis, in Read Across Texas, the 2002 Texas Reading Club manual, at http://www.tsl.texas.gov/ld/projects/trc/2002/manual/scripts/criedcoyote.html.

The Ballad of Ginger Fella

Let the children read, “The Ballad of Ginger Fella” by Missy Edgemon, in Read Across Texas, the 2002 Texas Reading Club manual, at http://www.tsl.texas.gov/ld/projects/trc/2002/manual/scripts/gingerfella.html.

Select a script from Frontier Fogs and Other Frankly Fractured Folktales for Reader’s Theatre by Anthony Fredricks or Multicultural Folktales: Reader’s Theatre for Elementary Students by Suzanne I Barchers.

Stories to Tell

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


Bluebonnet Flowers

  • Popped corn
  • Blue tempera paint
  • Crepe paper
  • Pipe cleaners
  • Optional: Buttons

In advance, place popped corn in a paper bag with blue tempera paint. The children glue the blue popcorn “petals” onto a green pipe cleaner stem, and attach leaves made from green pipe cleaner or green crepe paper. An alternative is to use blue buttons as petals.

Bluebonnet Flowers

Vaquero Pantene Puppet

  • Brass fasteners
  • Construction paper or card stock
  • Colors

Copy the pantene puppet pattern at http://www.tsl.texas.gov/ld/projects/trc/2002/manual/clipart/cowboy.html, from the Elementary Chapter of Read Across Texas, the 2002 Texas Reading Club manual, Read Across Texas onto card stock. Or, copy the pattern onto regular paper, cut the pieces out, and glue them to construction paper. Let the children color the pattern pieces, cut them out, assemble them with brass fasteners, and play with their puppets.

Guest Speakers

Invite a singing cowboy or a Texas storyteller to tell their favorite tall tales.

Books to Display or Booktalk

Brian Robertson’s Favorite Texas Tales by Brian Robertson.

Ghost Stories of Old Texas by Zinita Fowler.

Hold up the Sky by Jane Curry.

The Legend of Lone Star Bear by Remi Kramer.

Pecos Bill: A Tall Tale by Steven Kellogg.

Tales from the Home Place by Burandt and Shelley Dale.

Bulletin Boards

Affix pictures of tall tale characters onto the bulletin board along with book covers of tall tales. Let the children write and illustrate tall tales, or draw pictures of characters from tall tales, and add them to the bulletin board.


Display books of Texas tall tales.


Hang or display cowboys, boots, paintbrushes, corn husks dolls, bluebonnets, the shape of Texas, and other cowboy-related items around the library.


Ask your local hardware store to donate bluebonnet seeds for the children to plant in small pots, garden areas, or a window box.


The Legend of the Bluebonnet. (20 minutes)

Pecos Bill: King of Cowboys. (49 minutes)

Professional Resources

Frontier Fogs and Other Frankly Fractured Folktales for Reader’s Theatre by Anthony Fredricks.

Multicultural Folktales: Reader’s theatre for Elementary Students by Suzanne I Barchers.

Texas! 500 Jokes of the Lone Star State by Boyce House.

American Folklore


This site features folklore from across the U.S., including Texas stories. Tongue twisters are also included at http://www.americanfolklore.net/tonguetwisters.html.

Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame


The Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame honors people who participate in rodeo events and excel at them. Texas Tales, Jokes and Anecdotes http://buckcreek.tripod.comtexas.html Features jokes to tell to children at storytime programs.

Texas Theatres


The Texas Nonprofit Theatre web site encourages community theatres in Texas and includes scripts for children’s plays, musicals, including one act plays.

Tune in to Texas Stories


On this site, children can learn about the Lone Star State and how to be a Texan. The site includes audio files of stories.

Texas Reading Club 2009 Programming Manual / Libraries: Deep in the Heart of Texas!

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

Page last modified: June 14, 2011