Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Legend of Papa Noel: A Cajun Christmas Story

The Legend of Papa Noel: A Cajun Christmas Story

Terri Hoover Dunham
Illustrator:  Laura Knorr 
Picture Book
For ages 5 to 10
Sleeping Bear Press, 2006   ISBN: 978-1585362561

He has many names. American children call him Santa Claus, English children call him Father Christmas and Cajun children call him Papa Noel. The Cajun Papa Noel lives quietly in the deepest reaches of a Louisiana bayou with his nine pet alligators where he makes toys for children. Every Christmas Eve he hitches his alligators to his pirogue and takes the toys he has made to all the good Cajun children who live along the waterways. One Christmas Eve however he encountered a problem, a big white foggy problem.

Papa Noel knew that he was going to have a great deal of difficulty getting to all those homes if he could not see where he was going. He was worried that his gators would get injured if they could not see what was in front of them.

Papa Noel decided to hitch his somewhat magic gator, Nicollette, in the front of all the others hoping her green eyes would help her see through the fog. Though Nicollette did pretty well, the going was slow and soon all the gators were "all scratched up." Papa Noel knew that they would never deliver all the presents at the rate they were going. Was he going to have disappoint all those good Cajun boys and girls?

In this deliciously funny picture book, fans of Louisiana and the bayou country will get to meet a Papa Noel who will touch their hearts and tickle their funny bones. Written in the patois of the region, the story is funny and it is a tribute to the determination and resourcefulness of the Cajun people who don't intend to let a little fog get in the way of their Christmas celebrations.