As I was going through quite a number of picture books about Christmas and poetry collections with a Yuletide theme – I couldn’t help but feel that most of them sounded cliche and predictable, trite and b-o-r-i-n-g.
This book, however, is extremely refreshing, and perfect for our Poetry-filled Yuletide Cheer theme: Cajun Night Before Christmas by “Trosclair” and illustrated by James Rice. I bought this while I was in New Orleans a month ago. I knew that it would be just the right thing for Christmas.
There are no little match girls dressed in rags, no flying reindeers, no choirs of angels, no church steeples, no candy canes. Instead we have a hut in the middle of a swamp, gumbo simmering in the fireplace, and eight alligators flying in the night:
I also love how the voice of the book is authentic – I dare you to read the lines aloud with that Cajun twist – the Creole element seeping through:
‘Twas the night before Christmas An’ all t’ru de house Dey don’t a t’ing pass Not even a mouse. De chirren been nezzle Good snug on de flo’ An’ Mama pass de pepper T’ru de crack on de do’.
And what have we got here, eight alligators as Santa’s reindeers! No, they don’t have names like Rudolf, Dasher, Prancer or Vixen.
Our good ole Santa dressed in brown calls ’em as such:
“Ha, Gaston! Ha, Tiboy! Ha, Pierre an’ Alceé Gee, Ninette! Gee, Suzette! Celeste an’ Reneé!”
I had so much fun reading this book aloud to my nine year old. It definitely presents a different twist to a well-loved tale. And as the world is blanketed by the consumerism that has taken the place of Christmas season, I struggled to search for something genuine, refreshingly different, and definitely not commonplace. I hope you enjoyed this Cajun retelling of a classic Christmas tale.
PoC Challenge Update: 58 (25)
Cajun Night Before Christmas by “Trosclair,” Edited by Howard Jacobs, and Illustrated by James Rice. Pelican Publishing Company, Gretna, 2007. Bought my own copy. Book photos were taken by me.