The Legend of Papa Noel: A Cajun Christmas Story

Overview

Around the world Santa Claus has many names. But in a deep, swampy bayou of Louisiana, he's known as Papa Noël. In such a hot and humid place, there can be no sleds or reindeer, so Papa Noël rides the river in a boat that's pulled by eight alligators, with a snowy white one named Nicollette in the lead. On this particular Christmas Eve, it's so foggy on the river that even Nicollette's magical glowing-green eyes may not be enough to guide Papa Noël. The alligators are tired, grumpy and bruised from banging into ...
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Overview

Around the world Santa Claus has many names. But in a deep, swampy bayou of Louisiana, he's known as Papa Noël. In such a hot and humid place, there can be no sleds or reindeer, so Papa Noël rides the river in a boat that's pulled by eight alligators, with a snowy white one named Nicollette in the lead. On this particular Christmas Eve, it's so foggy on the river that even Nicollette's magical glowing-green eyes may not be enough to guide Papa Noël. The alligators are tired, grumpy and bruised from banging into cypress trees, and Papa is desperate to get all the gifts to the little children. Well, "quicker than a snake shimmies down the river," the clever Cajun people come up with a solution that saves the day. A colorfully inventive Christmas tale, Papa Noël is a lesson in fast thinking, as well as a witty introduction to a part of America that's rich in folklore and legend.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The Legend of Papa No l: A Cajun Christmas Story by Terri Hoover Dunham, illus. by Laura Knorr, unfolds in thick dialect (a glossary appears at the front), as Papa No l delivers his gifts in a pirogue (Cajun canoe) led by a band of special gators. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature - Elizabeth Fronk
In the deepest, darkest swamp of Louisiana, Papa Nodl is carving little pirogues, Cajun canoes, and baby dolls from cypress trees. On Christmas Eve, he loads these toys onto his own pirogue led by nine alligators. At the front of the alligator team is Nicollette who is white with eyes that shine like lamps. One Christmas Eve, the fog rolls in so thick that Papa Nodl is afraid that even Nicollette's bright eyes cannot help. Luckily, the smart Cajuns nearby help by building bonfires, which light the way to their houses. The illustrations of the alligators and Papa Nodl are very whimsical with Papa's rosy cheeks and the alligators' fat bellies. This story has a nice twist on the usual Christmas Eve delivery from Santa Claus; however it is at some points somewhat confusing. As the fog rolls in for Papa Nodl, it appears the story might be a clever twist to Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer; but then duct tape is pulled out to fix some of the alligators' scraped bellies. Duct tape was not invented until 1942; if this story takes place around 1942, it seems like Papa Nodl might be delivering other modern items along with the wooden canoes and dolls. It is nice to see a truly American tale about Santa Claus for early elementary students; the story would be better if it were obvious when this fog-filled trip takes place and if the ending were as strong as the story's beginning.
Kirkus Reviews
Dunham presents the story of a Christmas Eve so foggy that even the magical, glowing gator Nicollette will be unable to lead Papa Noel's pirogue to the homes of the good little Cajun girls and boys so that he can distribute his sack full of toys. Just as Papa Noel and his gators begin to despair, they discover that the Cajun people, having anticipated Papa Noel's difficulties, have kindly and shrewdly solved the problem by building giant bonfires to light his way. Cleverly, the author saves readers from the oft-made mistake of connecting the use of dialect and nonstandard grammar with ignorance by having the Cajuns solve Papa Noel's problem. And just in case we don't get the message, she tells us directly: "You see, Cajuns is some kinda smart, yeah." Knorr creates rich illustrations in which lamps, fireflies and bonfires provide a warm glow to illuminate the nighttime settings. The detail in these illustrations adds a charming quirkiness to the story, particularly the antics of a small raccoon who keeps Papa Noel company, occasionally riding on his hat and even making a grab for his cookies and milk. (glossary) (Picture book. 4-10)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781585362561
  • Publisher: Cherry Lake Pub
  • Publication date: 6/1/2006
  • Series: Myths, Legends, Fairy and Folktales
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 696,774
  • Age range: 4 - 10 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.10 (w) x 11.10 (h) x 0.40 (d)

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 6, 2009

    The Legend of Papa Noel A Cajun Christmas Story is a must read. Make this book one of your holiday traditions and enjoy it year after year.

    This is a wonderful regional story set in the Louisiana Cajun country. It is pure fantasy involving a Cajun Santa living deep in the swamp. Instead of a sleigh and reindeer, this Santa has a pirogue pulled by alligators. Nicolette, a magical white alligator, has green eyes that shine like Rudolphs red nose. Kids of all ages will love this well written story and the beautiful illustrations. I've bought copies of this book for all my neices, nephews, as well as my great neices and nephews and everyone has claimed this as their most favorite book of all.

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