The Great Legend of the Fifolet

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The Fifolet

•    Targeted Audience: Lower Elementary (Ages 5-8)
•    Genre: Fiction, Picture Book
•    Author: Johnette Downing
•    Illustrator: Jennifer Lindsley
•    Publisher: Pelican Publishing
•    Publication Date: January 20, 2015
•    Binding: Hard Cover
•    Dimensions: 8.5″ x 11″
•    Printing: Full Color
•    Length: 32 Pages
•    Retail: $17.99
•    ISBN: 978-1455620364

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From The Fifolet by Johnette Downing, illustrated by Jennifer Lindsley, © 2015 Johnette Downing, illustrations © 2015 Jennifer Lindsley, used by permission of the publisher, Pelican Publishing Company, Inc.

Steeped in Cajun Folklore

A fifolet is a folkloric term with a variety of meanings from different cultures around the world. But in Cajun-French it can be described as an “eerie ball of light that seems to dance and float above the water.” For centuries, the mystery of the fifolet has been thought to be a supernatural spirit, and in The Fifolet, author, singer, songwriter, Johnette Downing entertains readers with an incredibly original tale they shall never forget.

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From The Fifolet by Johnette Downing, illustrated by Jennifer Lindsley, © 2015 Johnette Downing, illustrations © 2015 Jennifer Lindsley, used by permission of the publisher, Pelican Publishing Company, Inc.

“Through cypress trees and beards of moss, there is a fire spirit that you never want to cross. It will tease you and coax you and draw you near, but all the Cajuns know that you better beware.”

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From The Fifolet by Johnette Downing, illustrated by Jennifer Lindsley, © 2015 Johnette Downing, illustrations © 2015 Jennifer Lindsley, used by permission of the publisher, Pelican Publishing Company, Inc.

A Tale of Greed

Inside a shack, deep in the Louisiana swamp, lives fisherman Jean-Paul Pierre. Night and day, day and night that fisherman fishes. He has no time for family and no time for friends; he fishes only for himself, and no matter how many fish he catches, he longs for more. One night in the distance, Jean-Paul sees the fifolt, dancing in the light. The light draws him in, putting him in an unbreakable trance. For he knows that wherever you see a fifolet a treasure exists. Day after day and night after night, he digs for treasure until one day he disappears from sight. Is he ever seen again?

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From The Fifolet by Johnette Downing, illustrated by Jennifer Lindsley, © 2015 Johnette Downing, illustrations © 2015 Jennifer Lindsley, used by permission of the publisher, Pelican Publishing Company, Inc.

 An Eerie Story with Illustrations Like None You’ve Ever Seen Before

The Fifolet is told in some of the finest rhyming verse I’ve ever read. There’s a hypnotic rhythm to this poetry that makes  it ideal for reading aloud. The story itself is an eerie one, as the beady-eyed fisherman disappears in misty moonlit waters of the swamp, incredibly depicted with hazy watercolor illustrations, gloriously deep with purple hues. The images of the somewhat creepy trees set the tone for the mysteries of this folkloric tale.

“His body began to tremble with fear he could not shake, but the fifolet was enticing; its spell he could not break.”

Why You Must Buy This Book

ImageI must commend the author, illustrator and publisher on their originality. This is such an ingenious book in many ways and yet I love that The Fifolet evokes a mood similar to a Grimm fairy tale, with a great mystery left unsolved and an even greater lesson learned. In this case, that lesson is one of the consequences of selfishness and greed. You’ll enjoy the fact that your child will learn some big new vocabulary words (also listed in the back of the book) as you read this perfectly rhythmic story aloud. If you’ve never heard of a fifolet before, you’ll be truly enlightened by this folk tale. I’m sure you’ll agree with me that these are among the most unique and mesmerizing illustrations ever seen in a children’s book, and they are so fitting for this story. So if you’re looking for a totally unique, modern folk tale that’s a bit eerie (but not terrifying, of course) this is the book for you.

From The Fifolet by Johnette Downing, illustrated by Jennifer Lindsley, © 2015 Johnette Downing, illustrations © 2015 Jennifer Lindsley, used by permission of the publisher, Pelican Publishing Company, Inc.

About the Author

JohnetteJohnette Downing is an award-winning and internationally recognized singer and songwriter. Her many accolades include eight Parents’ Choice Awards, four iParenting Media Awards, and four National Parenting Publication Awards. She wrote and/or illustrated There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Bugs, Why the Crawfish Lives in the Mud, How to Dress a Po’ Boy, Why the Oyster Has the Pearl, Why the Possum Has a Large Grin, Macarooned on a Dessert Island, and other Pelican titles. Downing lives in New Orleans, Louisiana.

About the Illustrator

616rcjen-1ecd17096908960aJennifer Lindsley is an artist, illustrator, and art instructor based in Louisiana. She earned her Associate of Arts degree in acting from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and her Bachelor of Arts degree in design technology from the University of Northern Colorado. She is the proprietor of ACME Studios, LLC, in New Orleans, Louisiana. She teaches children and adults the basics of art technique and instructs them to apply specific skills to a variety of media. She lives in New Orleans, Louisiana, “down the bayou,” just like Monsieur Pierre.

Further Learning

  1. Find Southern Louisiana on a map.
  2. Learn more about Cajun superstitions and spells.
  3. Cook up some traditional Cajun fare with your child.
  4. Lear more about swamps and marshes.

 

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