Around the world Santa Claus has many names. But in a deep, swampy bayou of Louisiana, he's known as Papa Nol. In such a hot and humid place, there can be no sleds or reindeer, so Papa Nol rides the river in a boat that's pulled by eight alligators, with a snowy white one named Nicollette in the lead. On this particular Christmas Eve, it's so foggy on the river that even Nicollette's magical glowing-green eyes may not be enough to guide Papa Nol. The alligators are tired, grumpy and bruised from banging into cypress trees, and Papa is desperate to get all the gifts to the little children. Well, "quicker than a snake shimmies down the river," the clever Cajun people come up with a solution that saves the day. A colorfully inventive Christmas tale, Papa Nol is a lesson in fast thinking, as well as a witty introduction to a part of America that's rich in folklore and legend.
These nine short folktales feature stories about traditional holidays celebrated from Czechoslovakia, Russia, France, the United States, and other parts of the world.
In this clever twist on the Night Before Christmas story, a gingerbread boy cookie is carefully crafted and placed on a plate. He was made special to serve as Santa's nighttime snack, a homemade thank-you for all the presents he will deliver. The cookie wonders if he is brave enough to face up to his holiday duty. But instead of spending the evening contemplating his fate, the gingerbread boy finds himself facing two rambunctious puppies experiencing their very first Christmas. Their mischief includes a tug-of-war with presents, leaving a big mess. And it's up to the gingerbread boy to save the dayand Christmas!
In The Nutcracker's Night Before Christmas preparations for a doomed stage production of the classic ballet goes from terribly bad to ridiculously worse. Sick stagehands, renegade cats, and crashing Christmas trees have everyone sure that the show won't go on. But it's Christmas Eve and help is on the way! Told in verse with wonderful whimsical illustrations, this story hits all the right notes for holiday reading.
A boy will never forget witnessing a forbidden Potlatch. In 1935, a nine-year-old boy's family held a forbidden Potlatch in faraway Kingcome Inlet. Watl'kina slipped from his bed to bear witness. In the Big House masked figures danced by firelight to the beat of the drum. And there, he saw a figure he knew. Aboriginal elder Alfred Scow and award-winning author Andrea Spalding collaborate to tell the story, to tell the secret of the dance.
Christmas is coming but someone is playing tricks! Torn stockings and broken candy canes reveal that The Christmas Humbugs have arrived at this holiday home. But do not fear, lively rhymes and merry illustrations by Colleen and Michael Glenn Monroe lift spirits and let readers know that not even the Humbugs can dampen Christmas cheer.
Long ago in a faraway place there lived two mothers. One, a humble peasant woman who struggled daily to provide for her children. And the other, a mother spider who also worked hard to care for her family. And although it would appear they were as different as night and day, these two mothers had more in common than would first seem. As the only holiday gift she can give her children, one cold Christmas Eve the peasant woman goes to the forest to get a tree, never noticing that someone has made a home among its branches. During the night, the mother spider spins webs decorating the tree, resulting in a Christmas that neither mother will ever forget. Based on an old Ukrainian story, Trinka Hakes Noble (The Orange Shoes) crafts an original heartwarming tale of the grace that can be found in the true spirit of Christmas. Trinka Hakes Noble's numerous picture books include The Scarlet Stockings Spy (IRA Teachers' Choice 2005), The Last Brother, The Orange Shoes (IRA Teachers' Choice 2008), and Apple Tree Christmas. Ms. Noble lives in northern New Jersey. Stephen Costanza attended the Philadelphia College of Art. His picture books are Mozart Finds a Melody, Noodle Man: The Pasta Superhero, and Ten Big Toes and a Prince's Nose. He lives in Belfast, Maine.