Cemetery Jamboree

Deborah Kadair Thomas. Pelican, $9.95 ISBN 978-1-4556-2239-9
Thomas (There Was a Tall Texan Who Swallowed a Flea) resurrects the spirits of famous figures connected to the city of New Orleans, picturing Louis Armstrong, Mahalia Jackson, Andrew Jackson, and others as skeletons convening in a cemetery on Halloween. It’s a motley crew, to say the least: voodoo practitioner Marie Laveau, pirate Jean Lafitte, and former governor Huey P. Long also make appearances. Unfortunately, Thomas’s herky-jerky rhymes (“Huey P. Long arrives in style,/ gathers a crowd, and stumps for a while./ He fills those spirits with promises grand:/ ‘Every man a king,’ he tells this loyal band”) and cut-paper artwork do little to conjure a festive affair—as more and more of the folk-naive skeletons crowd the pages, they mostly appear to be standing around. Young readers will need input from adults to learn anything substantial about these cultural and historical figures. Up to age 5. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 08/01/2016
Release date: 09/01/2016
Genre: Children's
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