Your next children’s book and project

We are excited to be participating today in the National Booking Across America project as Louisiana’s representative BookingAcrosstheUSAbuttonblog. In an effort to showcase regional books, blogs in each state are highlighting a book unique to their culture/state. If you want to add to your reading list, check out the entries from other states. But #1 on your list should be Louisiana’s entry!

If you have a child like mine, once a story has entered his imagination, he wants to hear it over and over. (And over and then how about one more time.) So I definitely appreciate the opportunity to jazz things up! Well Three Little Cajun Pigs, Petite Rouge: A Cajun Red Riding Hood and Jacques and de Beanstalk do just that. By Covington author, Mike Artell, they are Cajun versions of the similarly named familiar tales.

Take a familiar tale and set it in Cajun country and you’ll get some great local spice. For example, in the Three Little Cajun Pigs, a mean old alligator named Claude fits more into the February.20.2013 016Louisiana setting than a big bad wolf. Characters are appropriately named Trosclair, Thibodeaux and Boo. And amidst the Cajun dialect in which the story is told, roux, cochon de lait, bayou, pirogue, and many more French words will be heard. Reading in a Cajun dialect wakes your sleepy Mommy brain up and gets you into the story too!

Mike was kind enough to talk with me about his background. I left the conversation wishing I had half as many talents! He’s a cartoonist, author and illustrator, and that’s after working for high tech companies in his first career. If you grew up around here, you might remember him from Popeye & Pals, a locally produced Saturday morning show, where he had a segment teaching kids to draw.

Sometimes he is author and illustrator and, in the case of his Cajun trio of stories, at other times is just the author. Jim Harris provides the colorful, humorous illustrations in these books. Mike is also storyteller extraordinaire. Listen to his audio version of Petite Rouge here. (It will help you with your Cajun dialect!)

Fun Extension Activities

Three Little Cajun Pigs:

  • Have fun with the dialect and really get into the storytelling of this book; then have more fun by playacting out the story. Let your child decide: does he want to be mean ole Claude or one of the three little pigs? Have fun chasing each other around from “house” to “house,” with mean ole Claude always in pursuit. The grand finale will be when Claude hightails it to the river to cool his burnt tail.
  • Search Google Images for pictures of real life pigs, houses made of straw, sticks, and bricks, and an alligator villain. Print and cut out the images and let your child get hands on with building the events of the story.

Petite Rouge:

  • Search out the more traditional version of Little Red Riding Hood (or just give an oral recounting of the story to your child). Now read Petite Rouge. Ask your child to help you figure out what is the same and what is different. A third version to read together is Lon Po Po: A Red Riding Hood Story from China.
  • The final events of the story involve several actions by the quick thinking Petite Rouge and cat TeJean. Put on Mike’s audio version and act out the events with your child to better bring the conclusion of the story to life for your child. And if you’ve gone that far, act out the whole story while Mike does the reading!

One lucky reader will win a copy of both Three Little Cajun Pigs and Petite Rouge. Just leave a comment on this post sharing your favorite children’s book (and why). You get a bonus entry if it’s by a local author!

Full List of All Participating States and Blogs

Alabama: Everyday Sanpshots
Alaska: Little Wonders’ Days
Arizona: Simply Kinder and Think, Wonder, & Teach
Arkansas: Homeschooling in Arkansas
California: Juggling with Kids and The Outlaw Mom
Colorado: Learners in Bloom and Living Montessori Now
Connecticut: The Teacher Park
Delaware: Mama Miss
Florida: Teaching Stars
Georgia: Fabulously First
Hawaii: Teaching With Style
Idaho: True Aim Education
Illinois: Growing Book by Book
Indiana: Teach Preschool
Iowa: Surviving a Teacher’s Salary
Kansas: KCEdventures
Kentucky: Chicken Babies
Louisiana: New Orleans Moms Blog
Maine: Maine Adventure Mom and Country Fun Child Care
Maryland: Picture Books and Piourettes
Massachusetts: Mama Smiles
Michigan: Play DrMom
Minnesota: The Wise Owl Factory
Mississippi: Hey Mommy, Chocolate Milk
Missouri- Ready. Set. Read!
Montana: The Honey Bunch
Nebraska: The Good Long Road
Nevada: Boy, Oh Boy, Oh Boy Crafts
New Hampshire: Elementary Matters
New Jersey: The Pleasantest Thing
New Mexico: Enchanted Homeschooling Mom
New York: What Do We Do All Day
North Carolina: Realistic Teacher Blog
North Dakota: ND HealthWorks
Ohio: Smart Chick Teacher’s Blog
Oklahoma: Herding Kats in Kindergarten
Oregon: Journey of a Substitute Teacher
Pennsylvania: Land of Once Upon a Time
Rhode Island: Smiling in Second Grade
South Carolina: Cookies and Kiddos and JDaniel4’s Mom
South Dakota: The Wise Owl Factory
Tennessee: No Monkey Business
Texas: Curls and a Smile and Kid World Citizen
Utah: Teach Beside Me
Vermont: Burlington Vt Moms Blog
Virgina: Once Upon a Story, and The Freckled Homeschooler
Washington: Home Learning Journey and Boy Mama Teacher Mama
West Virginia: This Week @ Great Peace Academy and Mamas Like Me
Wisconsin: Reading Confetti
Wyoming: No Twiddle Twaddle
USA: The Corner on Character


  1. My grandson loves any book with Mickey Mouse in it. Although he’s non-verbal autistic, you can still make out the “hot diggety dog’ when he sees Mickey!


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