November 15, 2019

Geauxing and good eatin’ serves up reading and counting for Louisiana families.

This month, I feature two solidly Louisiana children’s picture books. These newly-released titles are fun, educational, and wonderfully illustrated.

Parents looking to teach their kids the ABC’s, Louisiana style, should check out “Things that Geaux.” Not only is “A” is for Alligator, “C” is for Catahoula, “F” is for Float, “L” is for Lucky Dog, and “R” is for Roman Candy, but more than one Louisiana-represnting feature accompanies each letter — over 100 individual illustrated “things that geaux” in total.

“The Hungry Little Gator” is a counting book highlighting Louisiana foods, and the hungry little gator who eats them. When counting food, Louisiana style, one must include, “one sloppy Po’ Boy measured in feet,” and “four fat pralines so salty and sweet,” “seven beignets with coffee – no way to be neat.”

Things That Geaux (River Road Press)
Scott and Tallulah Campbell
Illustrated by Melissa Vandiver

In Louisiana, we take pride in doing things a little bit differently. We don’t just go, we G-E-A-U-X! This book was written by my 9-year-old daughter Tallulah and I, after a friend (John Cavalier of Cavalier House Books) in Denham Springs, Louisiana, suggested it. This is the first book that either of us have written. It was a great experience collaborating with my daughter to create a book that other children can learn from. The book covers “things that geaux” from across the whole state of Louisiana. With wonderful, colorful Illustrations by New Orleans resident Melissa Vandiver.

This joyfully illustrated book introduces little ones to all the things that move in Louisiana, whether you are down in Grand Isle, up by Grand Bayou, or near Bayou St. John. Things that zoom, things that crawl, things that dance, things that roll, things that fly, and things that run are all featured in this fun-filled jaunt that will satisfy lovers of planes, trains, automobiles, and boats. Arranged alphabetically, each object is clearly labeled to encourage young learners to read along as they identify familiar things and discover some new ones along the way.

As a father-daughter team, we hope to inspire a discussion about all the unique aspects of the Pelican State, from how we get around to the ways we stamp our feet and sway to the beat. Readers will learn, smile, and laugh as they share their own ideas about all the things that geaux.

Hungry Little Gator (River Road Press)
Alexis Braud
Illustrated by Allison Dugas Behan

Join the Hungry Little Gator as he eats his way through favorite Louisiana treats! The book is written by Alexis Braud, the prolific Cajun raconteur and illustrator whose clever rhymes are entertaining and educating an entire generation of Louisiana kids. This book follows her success with “Cajun ABC” (as illustrator); “Gumbo: A Magical Bayou Tale;” and “One, Two, Rougarou” (as author and illustrator).

This time, Alexis surrenders the illustrating duties to the extremely capable New Orleans native Allison Behan. The book is bright, colorful, and airy and Alison captures kids attention with her whimsical illustrations of that hungry little gator.

After all, what could be more satisfying than a culinary tour with an adorable alligator who knows his way around the most delicious dishes that the Bayou State has to offer? He chomps his way through gumbo, poboys, beignets, snoballs, and more. As his appetite grows, so does his counting skills. This is a great book for any Louisiana kid who loves food and counting. What’s your kids favorite local treat, and how many do you think they could eat?

Scott Campbell is publisher and founder of River Road Press, a local boutique of local and regional authors.

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