Lu and the Swamp Ghost

Lu and the Swamp Ghost

5.0 1
by James Carville, David Catrow, Patricia C. McKissack
     
 

When I was a little boy, my favorite stories where the ones Mama told about the adventures she had growing up....Now that I have two little girls of my own, I want to share one of my mama's stories with them, and with you. And so, approche....

— James Carville

Mama always said, "You're never poor if you have a loving family

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Overview

When I was a little boy, my favorite stories where the ones Mama told about the adventures she had growing up....Now that I have two little girls of my own, I want to share one of my mama's stories with them, and with you. And so, approche....

— James Carville

Mama always said, "You're never poor if you have a loving family and one good friend." Well, Lu has a family but no friend — so maybe she is just a little poor. How all changes one day down on the Louisiana bayou — when Lu comes face-to-face with a for-real, live swamp ghost — is at the heart of this flavorful, funny...and compassionate story.

Meet a girl with lots of pluck and plenty of courage in this Depression-era tale that's based on an episode in the childhood of James Carville's mother.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publishers Weekly
Inspired by the colorful storytelling style and kind actions of his southern mother, political consultant Carville (aided by McKissack) spins a Depression-era yarn set in the Louisiana bayou about life's true riches. Young Lucille Ray-Jean, Lu for short, always has plenty to eat, and is usually busy as a bee in a hive, just like the rest of her family as they tend to their house, garden or animals. That's why Lu is confused by the talk in town about the Depression. After all, as Lu's Mama says, "You're never poor if you have a loving family and one good friend." With that thought in mind, Lu bravely befriends and feeds a creature covered in mud, leaves and twigs that she believes to be "a genuine, for-real swamp ghost." First impressions prove false however; after she offers the creature food and shelter, she discovers its true identity. Lu's innocent selflessness and genuine, sweet nature set this story apart from similar tales and give its message resonance. And the pacing is just right for settin' a spell on the back porch. Catrow's (Take Me Out of the Bathtub) watercolor-and-pencil compositions have a wiry, loose line that matches the air of gentleness and subtle wonder in the narrative. His slimy swamp critters, including all manner of bugs, give the proceedings an appropriate hum. He even includes a separate and funny visual story line for Lu's dog. A CD recording of Carville reading the text in his familiar drawl is included. Ages 4-8. (Sept.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
The author tells the reader that, this story was originally told to him by his mother in rural Louisiana. Lu is a delightful little girl who decided she might be just a little poor, even though the family seems to be working together well to survive the Depression years. She has lots of loving family but does not have one good friend. While helping her Papa check turkey traps one day in the swamp, Lu comes face to face with a swamp ghost. Terrified of what the ghost might do, Lu obeys his command to bring food to him the next day. The animals of the Louisiana swamp are displayed lovingly and the story does have the happiest of endings. The book is accompanied by a compact disc of the story recorded by author Carville with his distinctive southern drawl. This is a wonderful tale with great read aloud possibilities. 2004, Atheneum Books for Young Readers, Ages 4 to 8.
—Barbara Youngblood
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
K-Gr 4-When Lu's mama tells her that, "You're never poor if you have a loving family and one good friend," the child figures she's maybe a little poor because she has lots of family but no real friend. Then one day, when she traipses off to the swamp with Papa, Lu encounters a "Swamp Ghost." She takes him food and he rescues her when she's in danger, and a friendship is forged. Carville tells this humorous Depression-era story of a feisty protagonist and a boy trying to survive with gusto. Catrow's wildly bright watercolor-and-pencil illustrations fill the pages with wonderful swamp critters and an indomitable red-haired heroine. Also included is a CD of Carville reading the story. A fun selection for home and storytime enjoyment.-Judith Constantinides, formerly at East Baton Rouge Parish Main Library, LA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Carville-yes, that one-retells a tale learned from his Louisiana mother, about her own Depression-era childhood. "As curious as a Louisiana judge" since the time she learned to talk, little Lu heads into the swamp one day and encounters a mud-covered creature she takes for a swamp ghost. Lu tricks it into letting her escape, but seeing that it displays a decidedly un-ghostlike appetite for leftovers and for company, Lu recalls her Mama's philosophy that "you're never poor if you have a loving family and one good friend." She fearlessly returns to offer it a hamper, a home, and, once a rainstorm washes off the mud to reveal the "ghost's" true nature, a hand. Placing typically bulb-headed, frizzy-haired figures in a wonderfully gloppy bayou setting, Catrow ably captures Lu's big personality, as well as the story's warmth and humor. Here's hoping Carville's momma told him some more stories for Catrow to illustrate. (author's note) (Picture book. 6-8)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780689865602
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
Publication date:
09/28/2004
Edition description:
Book&CD
Pages:
40
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.60(h) x 1.10(d)
Lexile:
AD630L (what's this?)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

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