LITTLE PIERRE: A Cajun Story from Louisiana

Robert D. San Souci, Author, David Catrow, Illustrator , illus. by David Catrow. Harcourt/Silver Whistle $16 (32p) ISBN 978-0-15-202482-6

When Tom Thumb, the diminutive star of European folklore, emigrated to Louisiana, he was reborn among Cajun storytellers as Ti-Poucet (the "ti" comes from the French "petit" or "small"). This frisky retelling casts the tiny fellow as Little Pierre, brother to the entertainingly lazy and witless crew of Big Pierre, Fat Pierre, Wise Pierre and Foolish Pierre. Dreaming of reward money, the older boys hatch a plan to free Marie-Louise, the daughter of a rich man, who has been kidnapped by a dangerously "tricksy" swamp ogre, so they won't have to work. When Fat Pierre points out that they don't work now, Wise Pierre offers this pearl: "When you rich,... you can hire folks to not do work for you. Then you can not do twice as much as you ain't done before. That's rit-ma-tick." Plans go awry, of course, and it falls to brainy Little Pierre to rescue his bungling brothers and Marie-Louise. San Souci (The Talking Eggs ) and Catrow (Plantzilla ) communicate sheer delight in the tale's zany hyperbole. The Cajun dialect and funny colloquialisms seem organic to San Souci's cadenced storytelling, while Catrow's mottled, high-wattage watercolors ratchet up the absurdity with grossly exaggerated caricatures. While the brothers exhibit delectable dim-bulb features like vacant expressions and gravity-defying pompadours, jug-eared Little Pierre resembles a young (yet still balding) Ross Perot. Ages 5-8. (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 10/13/2003
Release date: 09/01/2003
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