Rockin’ the Bayou Down in Louisiana!

Rockin’ the Bayou Down in Louisiana!

A review of Rockin’ the Bayou Down in Louisiana! by Bïa, Erik West-Millette, and Olaf Gundel

Published on November 1, 2023

Rockin’ the Bayou Down in Louisiana!
We’re a Possum Family Band

Bïa, Erik West-Millette, and Olaf Gundel
Illustrated by Fanny Berthiaume

The Secret Mountain
$19.95
cloth
48pp
9782898360435

IRockin’ the Bayou Down in Louisiana! We’re a Possum Family Band – a book by and for music lovers – a brood of young possum joeys beg their grandparents to tell them a story. Papa Poss and Mama Poss settle down to spin yarn about coming of age in the bayous of Louisiana, when Papa Poss played dobro in a band, and Mama Moss snuck out of her home to shred on the harmonica at the Fais Dodo Thibodeau, a late-night haunt for musicians. In this first book of a series, Fanny Berthiaume’s spirited illustrations capture the foot-stomping moodiness of a low-lit bar and the many shades of green in the verdant bayous.

The tale that follows, of budding love and rising musical fame, is told over the din of the joeys’ interrupting chatter and – ultimately – the plot drifts off into the Louisiana night. Yet Papa Poss’ courting style grabs my attention. One could say he has all the grace of Danny Zuko fawning over Sandy Dee. I can’t believe I’m writing this, but it is my firm opinion that even coming from the mouth of a marsupial, the phrase, “Good day miss, you sure are easy on the eyes,” has no place in a children’s book. Some things are best kept in the good ol’ days. 

If you like a book with features, you can follow the QR code on the back cover to listen and sing along to accompanying songs performed by Olaf Gundel with Alexa Devine and Annick Brémault. A glossary of instruments (including the dobro), information on famous Cajun musicians, and brief histories of the Acadian diaspora are included to boot.mRb

Meaghan Thurston is a Montreal-based arts and science writer, co-editor of the anthology With the World to Choose From: Seven Decades of the Beatty Lecture at McGill University, and mother to two budding readers.

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