Boudin's First Christmas (Boudin's Grand Adventures)

Children - Animals
36 Pages
Reviewed on 02/24/2018
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Mama Leah is from rural Louisiana in the southern USA. She is passionate about art and children. The character Boudin is based on her daughter's dog of the same name, and his travels around the world inspired Mama Leah to create children’s books based on his adventures. All of the books in the Boudin’s Grand Adventures series are written, hand-painted and designed by Mama Leah herself.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Romuald Dzemo for Readers' Favorite

Boudin's First Christmas (Boudin's Grand Adventures) by Leah Morris is a very quick read that will delight the hearts of young readers, especially those who love animals. I read it with my seven-year-old son in one sitting, studying the illustrations and enjoying the cute verses, the lovely rhymes, the cartoon layout of the pages, and the colors of the paintings. A grandmother had been married for sixty years, and she and her husband had built their home in a swamp, where they lived in the midst of nature’s bounty, enjoying a living “that few people know, /of trappings and pelts in/this place long ago.” Now with her husband gone, all she cares about is to have some company for Christmas and thereafter. Lo and behold, upon her waking on Christmas Day, she finds a cute little puppy in a pirogue bed, and life changes for her. Now she has a companion not just for Christmas, but one to accompany her on delightful daily adventures.

This is a charming story for kids, written in a poetic style, and with images that are equally captivating. The author helps young readers understand the sadness and loneliness of the grandmother, which contrasts with her excitement at the gift of a new puppy. This is an interesting book that can be used to introduce children to poetry. It is filled with imagery and lines that are deeply touching, allowing a powerful current of emotions. Boudin's First Christmas (Boudin's Grand Adventures) by Leah Morris is a gift for children, but most importantly, one to discover with children.

Michelle Stanley

Boudin’s First Christmas is a sweet children's animal novella from the series Boudin’s Grand Adventures by Leah Morris. A grandmother who lives in the Southern Louisiana bayou becomes very lonely after her husband passes away. They were married for sixty years and now she has no one around for companionship. The bayou swamps provided her with lots of food and beautiful scenery. She thought it would be so nice to have a friend to share it with. A small dog would make the perfect companion. The woman brightly decorated her Christmas tree and left cookies and milk for Santa Claus before going to bed. A noise woke the woman early Christmas morning and she went to investigate. She found the cutest little puppy with a red bow around his neck. She named him Boudin and began to make plans for all the fun, exciting things they would do together. She’ll never be alone again.

I adored this beautifully written story in a poem by Leah Morris, or “Mama Leah” as she’s affectionately called. It has great rhyming flow and attractively done artwork, which I found unique. All the artwork in Boudin’s Grand Adventures series is also hand painted and designed by Leah Morris. The name Boudin is Cajun French and it means “A sausage of meat and rice sent from the Gods above." Mama Leah’s inspiration for the character of Boudin and the children’s series is based on her daughter’s dog with the same name. Boudin’s First Christmas: Boudin’s Grand Adventures is a story that children will enjoy a lot.

Jack Magnus

Boudin's First Christmas: Boudin's Grand Adventures is a holiday-themed animal picture book for children written and illustrated by Leah Morris aka “Mama Leah.” Deep in the swamp, an older woman lived alone in her little cottage. For years, she and her husband had happily shared a life there; they had been married for sixty years. They had built their house and made a living from trapping and fishing, but he had died, leaving her alone. She would sit outside on her rocking chair and look out at the waters, with his chair sitting sadly empty beside her. When Christmas came, she wished for a dog, a companion to love and care for. She carefully set up the Christmas tree outside on the porch; left cookies and milk next to an easy chair for Santa to sit and relax a bit; and left a candle in the window to light his way. Her house was the last stop for Santa that Christmas Eve, and he relished the comfort of the chair as he drank his milk. Then he carefully set down the gift that he had brought her.

One would have to have a heart of stone not to be affected by Leah Morris’s poignant and loving story book for children, Boudin's First Christmas: Boudin's Grand Adventures. The image of the grandmother all alone after losing her husband is powerful, especially the painting showing his empty rocking chair, and one can’t help but hope that Santa hears her prayers. Morris’s illustrations and page layout are impressive indeed. Each page looks like it’s been sewn with a silken green thread into a binding, and the paintings themselves are masterfully executed. While appearing to be primitive, the rules of perspective, color theory and layout are all beautifully navigated, giving each picture dimension and genuine depth.

I especially liked the picture of the grandmother in her rocking chair, watching the sun set over the swamp. Parts of her brilliant yellow chair extend over the sewn-in page, giving the image added dimension. I also loved the picture showing the couple’s little house on the edge of the water, complete with a jaunty plume of smoke billowing from the chimney. Morris’s use of washes and other painting effects contribute to the depth and presence of her artwork. Does Santa bring what she wishes most for? The title is the spoiler here, but getting to that point is magical indeed. Boudin's First Christmas: Boudin's Grand Adventures will have kids experiencing empathy and concern for others as they read this imaginative and lovely little book. It’s most highly recommended.

Fiona Ingram

Boudin's First Christmas is the first story in Boudin's Grand Adventures, and is written and creatively illustrated by Leah Morris, or “Mama Leah.” This is a simple and delightful children’s picture book story of a grandmother now left alone after a long and happy marriage to her husband of sixty years. Together they had made the bayou their home and had enjoyed life there and exploring what the swamp had to offer. But the old lady is lonely and longs for a companion to share her days. Maybe a dog? A dog could keep her company as she went on walks. So, in anticipation of her wish being granted, the old lady set out a comfy chair for Father Christmas, cookies, and a cool glass of milk. She also placed a candle in the window to light his way. As the sun rose on Christmas Day, what a wonderful, loving surprise awaited her! The old lady named her adorable new companion Boudin, which is the name of a sausage of meat and rice really enjoyed by the Cajun French. Boudin’s adventures have just begun.

First, the wonderful images make this story an enchanting work of art. The pictures are hand drawn and painted, and then stitched onto paper with a green thread. This gives a cosy, home-grown feel to the whole story, drawing young (and any age) readers into a story literally created by the author. I loved the delicate detail of the images, the vibrant colours, the way the edges of the pictures spill over the paper edge, giving a three-dimensional perspective. This is the kind of picture book that children will want to read or have read to them again and again, as they pore over each page and find new details with each retelling. The book itself has a ‘classic’ feel that just invites youngsters to turn those pages themselves.

The story has so much to offer readers: themes of love and devotion in a relationship, remembering a loved one who has passed on, the idea of companionship, caring for and loving a four-footed companion, having faith that a wish will come true, and acting on that faith. I just loved everything about this touching and beautifully illustrated tale. I have no doubt that readers, young and older, will be eager to find out more about Boudin’s next adventure. Although this is a Christmas story, it’s a delightful read for any time of the year!

Gisela Dixon

Boudin's First Christmas (Boudin's Grand Adventures) by Leah Morris is a children’s story about an elderly lady and her new dog. Boudin's First Christmas is a sweet Christmas story set in Louisiana. The book begins with an old grandmother who lives alone in the bayou. Her husband is no more and she is lonely and seeks companionship in the form of a dog. So she sets out cookies and milk for Santa during Christmas, hoping for a lovable Christmas gift. Santa arrives, partakes of her milk and cookies, and does leave a gift behind in the form of a small puppy. In the morning, the grandmother wakes up and is delighted to find her new puppy. And that is how the puppy’s—or Boudin as he is named—first Christmas begins with the grandmother.

Boudin's First Christmas by Leah Morris is a cute children’s Christmas story. The story itself is simple and pleasant with just the two main characters of the grandmother and the dog. The artwork and illustrations are wonderful and have a “hand-made” feel to them which is old-fashioned and charming at the same time. It really complements the story well with its older, traditional life and background of the Louisiana bayou. I also liked the vivid colors of some of the illustrations that bring to life the story and its setting well. The story depicts emotions of love and loss, but in a simple, endearing way that is suitable for young children. Overall, this is a good children’s book that both adults and children will enjoy reading.