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Mimi's First Mardi Gras Hardcover – November 30, 1991
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From Publishers Weekly
Seen through Mimi's eyes, this pictorial tour of Mardi Gras in New Orleans provides a pleasing introduction to the holiday. Though the inclusion of abundant details may strike some as forced, readers can glean snippets of history and such traditions as the King Cake, a sizable confection with "a tiny baby doll" hidden inside. Preparations for the annual festivities include the all-important choices of costume; though her parents are dressing as clowns, "Mimi had her heart set on being a beautiful princess." The depiction of the parade--with its gaudy carnival atmosphere--vividly highlights the Fat Tuesday food, the trinkets thrown to the crowd and the arrival of Rex, King of Carnival. When the parade is over, an exhausted Mimi joins her cousins for gumbo and jambalaya. While Rougelot's watercolor illustrations are not particularly distinctive, they manage to evoke the many facets of this timehonored extravaganza. Ages 4-8.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.
About the Author
Alice Couvillon and Elizabeth Moore are both Louisiana natives who reside in Covington and graduated from Newcomb College in New Orleans.
Alice Couvillon and Elizabeth Moore are both Louisiana natives who reside in Covington and graduated from Newcomb College in New Orleans. Together they wrote the Pelican titles Mimiís First Mardi Gras, Mimi and Jean-Paulís Cajun Mardi Gras, and Louisiana Indian Tales.
Illustrator Marilyn Carter Rougelot, who also provided the illustrations for Mimi's First Mardi Gras and Mimi and Jean-Paul's Cajun Mardi Gras as well as Portraits of Extraordinary Women, is a native New Orleanian. She began her art training in the city's Vieux Carr and is an accomplished painter specializing in portraiture.
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As we walk through the story, I will convey the information for your edification. The double title page shows the colors of Mardi Gras--green, gold, purple, throwing of beads with hands upraised, but, ha ha, so orderly. Anyone who has been to a MG parade knows people are standing there almost riotously awaiting a throw for freebie beads and other trinkets!
King Cakes are shown with Mimi discovering the baby figure and knowing the cake presages the parades. They eat the famous New Orleans beignets, a square of fried dough sprinkled with powered sugar and similar to a dough-nut taste. Quite yummy! The family puts on their costumes, as everyone, so it seems, wears costumes to the parades.
When the MG Indians come by, Mimi's dad explains their history: black men form tribes and work on seriously elaborate costumes all year long. The the jazz funeral parade comes by (no explanation). Zulu is next--an African American parade in existence for 75 years. The big treat the Zulu members throw is coconuts.
Mimi learns about cotton candy when her dad buys some. Next the Rex parade with its trappings of splendor arrives. "Throw me something, Mister" is the line that everyone shouts as they try to catch the multitude of trinkets. Mimi tries to catch a gold doubloon, her most wished for freebie and catches one.
I give this book four stars and deducted one for three things that really bothered me (perhaps I am silly for them):
1. In every illustration Mimi's face looks so adult
2. She has anorexic legs that are just pitiful.
3. At the parade Mimi's mother shows up in only one picture and I am not sure that is she. However, a black woman is beside the dad several times. We know that Mimi's mother is a honey-blonde because she is in the pages in the morning.
4. The lack of explanation, even rudimentary, about the religious connection is just too glaring.
None of these things are serious problems. The illustrations are really lovely. I do recommend this book, especially for parents with time to sit, read, and discuss the book.