Great fireside stories

Nothing beats gathering around the flames to hear a tale. We asked librarians near national parks for their suggestions, and threw in one of our own.

While the kind of fire you can build depends on your wood, the principles involved don't change. "The fire triangle is made up of three ingredients ― fuel, heat, and oxygen," says Julie Sidel, interpretive specialist at Big Basin. "Folks often forget that third ingredient." Nothing beats gathering around the flames to hear a tale. We asked librarians near national parks for their suggestions, and we threw in one of our own. (All are available at www.amazon.com.)

Campfire Stories: Things That Go Bump in the Night, by William W. Forgey, M.D. (Globe Pequot Press, Guilford, CT, 1985; $12). Original, classic stories of adventure and ghosts, each easy to memorize for retelling.

My Life in Dog Years, by Gary Paulsen (Bantam Doubleday Dell, New York, 1998; $16). The famed author of adventure tales reflects on the canines in his life (you'll love Caesar) in a series of entertaining stand-alone chapters.

Ready-to-Tell Tales: Sure-Fire Stories from America's Favorite Storytellers, edited by David Holt and Bill Mooney (August House, Little Rock, AR, 1994; $20). Forty professional storytellers share stories guaranteed to work in front of the most demanding audiences.

Stories for Around the Campfire , by Ray Harriot (Campfire Publishing Company, Laurel, MD, 1986; $7.95). A collection of humorous, ghost, adventure, foreign, and Native American stories handpicked by camp directors.