Julia Taylor Ebel

Author of Books and Poetry Celebrating Nature, Heritage and Cultural History

Jack Tales and Mountain Yarns: As Told By Orville Hicks
Sherry Jensen, illustrator
Afterword by Thomas McGowan

Winner of the 2009 Aesop Accolade from the American Folklore Society

Orville Hicks has enthralled audiences beyond the porches of Beech Mountain for more than two decades. His listeners have asked for a book of Orville’s tales.

Jack Tales and Mountain Yarns captures the voice of the master storyteller in more than 20 transcribed stories, paired with lively pencil sketches. Having grown up in a hollow near Beech Mountain, he knows the mountain setting and the ways of his clever character Jack.

Orville heard Jack Tales and other lore from his mother—tales passed on from her father, Kell Harmon, and from his father, Council Harmon. Orville also heard tales from his second cousin Ray Hicks.

As Orville continues this rich tradition of storytelling, those who hear his tales will notice the ring of authenticity in his words and voice. They will glimpse a mountain boy’s intimacy with the woods surrounding the family farm. They will see his humble lifestyle in his characters, including Jack.

The book includes a variety of tales that will entertain children and adults alike as they give insight into Appalachian Mountain life. Endnotes include a glossary, an original story in Orville's handwriting, and a study guide for further thought. For ages 8 to adult.

Comments and Reviews

Orville Hicks is the most talented contemporary teller continuing the traditional Appalachian stories of the boy-trickster Jack.
--Dr. Thomas McGowan, Appalachian State University (from the Afterword)

All the material is carefully edited, with close attention to the rhythms of Hicks’ speech and the Appalachian dialect...an excellent addition to the already significant library of publications dealing with these important components of American folklore.--James E. Doan, Journal of Folklore Research

Playful sketches by Sherry Jenkins
Jensen capture images of Jack and
the mountain setting with insight
and respect.

Anyone wishing to learn more about the art of traditional storytelling will learn much from this volume....
--American Folklore Society

Capturing the essence of such a vibrant character on paper should be a difficult task, but Julia Ebel manages the obstacles of transcription with the ease necessary for the relaxed styles of Orville Hicks.
--Ann Chesney, North Carolina Folklore Journal

To Order

ISBN: 1-933251-64-6, Hardcover; 2009; $19.95
ISBN: 1-933251-65-3, Paperback; 2009; $14.95
Published by Parkway Publishers, Inc.

Order signed copies from the author:
Julia Taylor Ebel
P.O. Box 11
Jamestown, NC 27282
(336) 454-1957

Distributed through John F. Blair, Publisher, 1406 Plaza Drive, Winston-Salem, NC 27103; 1-800-222-9796; www.blairpub.com

Also available through national distributors, including Baker & Taylor and Ingrams.

Study Guide

Available in Microsoft Word. Click here to download a copy.