Grandpa’s Hal-La-Loo-Ya Hambone


Grandpa’s Hal-La-Loo-Ya Hambone
by Joe Hayes
Illustrated by Antonio Castro L.

Readers Theater

Book Trailer

Author Interview

Related Activities & Resources:

Informational Resources:

Author Information:

Joe Hayes Bio:

National Book Festival Interview:

National Book Festival Webcast (45:56):

Illustrator Information:

Antonio Castro L Bio:

Activities & Resources:


The Great Depression:

The Great Depression information:

The Great Depression Crossword puzzle:

The Great Depression Word Search Game:

The Great Depression:

Out of the Dust: Visions of Dust Bowl History:

Ask an older relative or neighbor if they lived during the Great Depression. Find out how their life was affected by it.


Fishing ABC’s Coloring Book:

Fish Scramble:

Fish Word Search:


Best Ever Pinto Beans Recipe:


The Dirt on Soil Experiment:

Tall Tales:

Tall Tales:

Elements of a Tall Tale & Printable Templates:

Joe Hayes & the Gum Chewing Rattler (5:42):

Make up your own exaggerated story based on an experience you’ve had. Share it with others.

MakerSpace Activities:

Build a contraption that would have helped get Grandpa’s false teeth out of the well.

Create a recipe that uses beans.

Design a terrarium.

Design something that the family in our story could have used so they wouldn’t track mud in the house.

Design a game that uses beans and other recycled materials. (Such as bottles, lids, empty tape rolls, cardboard pieces, etc).

Discussion Questions:

Explain what recycle means. Why is it important? Does your family recycle? How can you help?

When did you first realize this story was exaggerated? What parts of this story make it a tall tale?

Do you have a favorite tall tale? Why do you like it?

Do you like to eat beans? If so, what is your favorite bean dish? Why?

If you had to eat the same food three times a day, what food would you choose? Explain.

Explain the expression “makes do” and how it ties in with this story.

Have you ever been on a farm? If so, where and what kind of farm was it? Did animals live on the farm? What kind of crops were grown on the farm? Would you like to live on a farm? Explain.

If you have a grandfather, what kind of relationship do you have with him? Do you see him often? What kind of activities do you do together?

In our story, Grandpa moved west to live with his grandsons and their parents. Do you think you would like a grandparent to move in with your family? Why or why not?

Ask a grandparent, who was raised by someone who lived during the Great Depression, how the experiences of the Great Depression affected how they brought up their family.

In this story, the mom hung the hambone on the clothesline to dry out. Explain if you think this was a good idea or not.

Why do you think Grandpa was washing his face out back at the well? Explain. Have you seen a well like the one pictured in this story? If so, where and how was it used?

What did you think of Stan’s plan to recover Grandpa’s false teeth? If you had been there, what strategy would you have used to retrieve the teeth?

When the hambone couldn’t be recovered from the well, the narrator said “it was like the end of an era.” What did he mean by this? Do you agree? Explain.

What do you think of how people long ago got their drinking water from a well?  What changes would you have made if you had to drink from an outdoor well?

In the story, neighbors borrowed the hambone. Have you ever borrowed anything? Explain. Have you ever loaned something of yours? If so, what was it and how did that work out?

Even though this story is a tall tale, the Great Depression really happened. Some families probably did eat lots of beans. How do you think people managed during these times?

How do you think the illustrations paired with the story? Explain.

Have you ever watched a movie or read a story that happened during the Great Depression? Compare this story to the movie or other story that you read.

Which part of this story was the most exaggerated or unbelievable? Explain.

If you got to edit this story, is there another part that could have been stretched or exaggerated? Explain.

Book Talk Teasers:

Read the Readers Theater for this book.

Display a can or small bag of beans. Ask how many like beans. Ask how many would like to eat them 3 times a day. Explain that this story takes place during a period in U.S. history called the Great Depression; a time when banks failed, lots of people lost their jobs, parts of our country suffered through a terrible drought, and many families didn’t have enough food to eat.

Read Alikes:

Humorous stories, Picture books for children, Exaggerated

Hayes, Joe. The gum-chewing rattler. A tall tale of a boy whose chewing gum habit saves him from a rattlesnake’s bite. (NoveList)

Picture books for children

Hayes, Joe. The love-sick skunk. A boy who likes to wear his favorite clothes constantly, no matter what, leaves his smelly, black-and-white sneakers outside his tent during a campout and witnesses their effect on a passing skunk. (NoveList)

Hayes, Joe. My pet rattlesnake. After saving a rattlesnake’s life out in the desert, Joe discovers the snake has followed him home and although his father is annoyed and the neighbors terrified, the snake soon proves his worth as a pet and protector. (NoveList)

Folklore, Tall tales

Stoutenburg, Adrien. American tall tales. Features eight American folk heroes: Paul Bunyan, Pecos Bill, Stormalong, Mike Fink, Davy Crockett, Johnny Appleseed, John Henry, and Joe Magarac. (NoveList)

Bilingual materials, Folklore

Hayes, Joe. The coyote under the table: = El coyote debajo de la mesa : folktales told in Spanish and English. A collection of ten classic tales from Northern New Mexico retold in Spanish and English. (NoveList)

Hayes, Joe. The day it snowed tortillas: = El dia que nevaron tortillas : folktales told in Spanish and English. A collection of classic tales from New Mexico, including “Pedro and Diablo,” “La Hormiguita,” “La Llorona,” and “Juan Camison,” in both Spanish and English. (NoveList)


Hayes, Joe Grandpa’s Hal-La-Loo-Ya Hambone!
32 pp. Cinco 2016. ISBN 978-1-941026-54-0 PE ISBN 978-1-941026-55-7 Ebook ISBN 978-1-941026-56-5
(4) K-3 Illustrated by Antonio Castro L.. Only beans grow on the poor Hayes family’s farm, so they eat nothing but. When the father buys a large hambone, it’s used repeatedly by the family and their neighbors to flavor their beans, and it comes in handy when Grandpa loses his teeth in the well. Caricature illustrations (somewhat garishly) play up the humor in this homey, Southwest-flavored tall tale.  Reprinted from The Horn Book Guide by permission of Horn Book, Inc.