Top Ten Gumbo Books for Kids? No kidding!

One of the many popular titles illustrated by James Rice.

One of the many popular titles illustrated by James Rice.

Today’s email from Amazon featured their list of The 100 Best Children’s Books, which prompted me to wonder how many kids books are out there about gumbo. A little research produced lots more books than I ever imagined. The plots in some are mind-boggling.

Reader Beware: The only children’s book I’ve read that slightly mentions gumbo is Cajun Night Before Christmas with the lines . . . “Den Mama in the fireplace, Done roas’ up de ham, Stir up de gumbo An’ make bake de ham.” I read it to my grandkids every year. Maybe next year we’ll have a marathon and read these gumbo titles. As one of my granddaughter says, Drum roll, please  . . . for . . .

The Top Ten Gumbo Children’s Books and the weird reasons (distinctly mine) that I’d like to read them.

June Bug and the Gumbo Garden is set in Mississippi and the main character is Mississippinamed Miss Gautier. My parents lived in Gautier, Mississippi, for years. Of course there is a scary part about snakes and I might have to turn the pages really fast to keep from being scared.

ListenSecret of Gumbo Grove – this is a mystery set in Gumbo Grove, South Carolina. Readers say it’s a good mystery, especially if you’re 12 and up. It shows a tourist town from the point of view of a kid who lives there. I love being a tourist in South Carolina and wonder what it’s like to be a local.


Gator Gumbo. A new version of “The Little Red Hen” where Monsieur Gator decides toGator gumbo cook up some gumbo just like Maman used to make. But who will help him boil, catch, sprinkle and chop? The sneak peek illustrations are captivating – they almost look like watercolors. I’ll read it for the pictures.

Grandma’s Gumbo –A rhyming poem and recipe that makes gumbo using Louisiana ingredients — like shrimp, oysters, bell peppers, and okra—Gumbo Recipe in Grandma’s big black pot. The School Library Review is okay, but I’m interested it reading it for the rhymes – not that many words actually rhyme with gumbo. Right – oh?

ManateeGumbo the Talking Manatee – The ten-year-old main character pulls in a baby manatee in his cast-net. What? The manatee talks? Why name him Gumbo? Most of all, one of granddaughters wants to swim with manatees.


Gumbo Goes Downtown – Gumbo runs away from his New Orleans Lost Dogshotgun house and journeys down St. Charles Avenue and through the French Quarter to Jackson Square to the riverfront. He sees the Mississippi River with its mighty ships and paddle wheelers. I’m interested in seeing the sights of New Orleans from a dog’s point of view. (I love the Spencer Quinn bmysteries about the detective and his dog Chet).

Alligator FarmGumbo and Gertie – Gertie’s parents own an alligator wrestling business. When she tends an alligator egg, it hatches and she teaches it to play the piano. The baby gator ends up being the star of a new show. What’s not to like about a family that wrestles alligators?

Evangeline’s Gumbo – This character sounds a little like a Cajun Dora, but I Cajun Doraam interested in supporting the author Mary Reason Theriot. She’s using writing and illustrating children books as therapy after her MS diagnosis.

MusicGumbo in the Land of Cultural Fusion – a pint-sized jazz prodigy, Cheramie, is growing up in the French quarter and he and his random “krewe” of friends run errands to buy cooking ingredients for his mom. They form a jazz quartet and play in Jackson Square. I’m interested in what they buy at the grocery store and if they shop at Central Grocery in the French Quarter and make muffulettas

Eco MystseryGumbo LimboThe Missing Gator of Gumbo Limbo. A homeless girl and her abused mother live in a yellow tent in the Everglades. This is described as an ecological mystery, and with a heavy ecology message, a concern of many young readers (8-12). A teaching guide is available, plus it has two different covers in print. I live in Florida and would like to go to Gumbo Limbo Nature Center in Boca Raton, though I’m not anxious to run into a 12-foot alligator like the one in this story.

As for tonight, it’s Twas the Night Before Christmas (officially A Visit from St. Nicholas by Clement Clark Moore) and Cajun Night Before Christmas by Trosclair. Merry Christmas to All!

About thegumbodiaries

On the search for the perfect gumbo!
This entry was posted in Dear Diary (Gumbo Experiences)... and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Top Ten Gumbo Books for Kids? No kidding!

  1. Scott says:

    “Cajun Night Before Christmas” is my favorite Christmas book of all, for children aged 1 – 111!


  2. I agree with your age range! I was surprised to see how many books the illustrator has done. Thanks for reading.


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