One of the teachers at my school came yesterday all excited. She was searching the second hand books at David's Bookshop in Letchworth (a wonderful independant bookshop) and discovered a book from Louisiana. I was skeptical as to what it might be when lo and behold she produced a copy of The Cajun Night Before Christmas illustrated by James Rice published by Pelican Publishing.
Spiderman and I laughed and laughed. We both had this book as children and remembered it fondly. We sold many copies of it the year we owned the bookshop. How did this book make it's way across the ocean?
The teacher who bought it for me said she and her daughter tried to read it but couldn't understand any words. I had a go at reading it in my admittedly very poor Cajun accent and everyone was rolling with laughter. I have been told I must come read it classes in December so this is another story I must practice.
Looking on the dust jacket I noticed other books by James Rice. I remember Gaston the Green Nosed Alligator and Gaston Goes to Mardi Gras (I'm sure I had these as well) but I was not familiar with the Gaston works for BP series--namely Gaston Drills an Offshore Oil Well and Gaston Lays an Offshore Pipeline. I somehow can't imagine these last two being as popular today.
There are many things I disliked about Louisiana--racism, segregated schools, views on education, that hunting culture that puts animal heads on walls--but this book reminded me of the things I love--cypress trees with moss, spicy food, zydeco music and the good memories I have of so many Mardi Gras spent at the Acadian Village.
Thaks for the memory.