On Linguistic Diversity:
I love the diversity of voices in children’s literature. But when educators utter the D word, they don’t generally mean rural white southerners from the 50s. For this blog, I’m going to include any marginalized voice that strikes my fancy. (So, they’re in too.)
Cue Maynard Jenkins, who narrates this tall tale with a slew of folk language: “Whippersnapper”, “Don’t be all-fired anxious”, “warm as Grandma’s gravy” and “slipperier than a weasel in a grease pit” to mention a few. Maynard’s southern seems authentic to my ears (eyes?). Since Helen Ketteman spent her formative years in Georgia; I’ll call it legit.
In mass media a there’s long standing tradition of intellectually challenged rural southern characters: Mater from Pixar/Disney Cars for example. So Ketteman’s choice of a witty main character sporting Southern lingo seems like a good counterpoint.
About the Book:
This story is more than another voice in Bakhtin’s heteroglossia. It’s a wonderfully wild tale of Santa moving the North Pole operations to southern Indiana, a creepy backwoods witch, wind tossing cows four miles across the countryside, and a snow storm that had Maynard scrambling out of a chimney to escape his own house.
Outside of the traditional favorites I’ve already highlighted, How the Grinch Stole Christmas and The Night Before Christmas, this is my favorite Christmas story to read aloud because it captivates the little ears within my circle of influence.