the There Was an Ol' Cajun study guide. - Pelican Publishing ...

the There Was an Ol' Cajun study guide. - Pelican Publishing ...


1000 BURMASTER ST., GRETNA, LA 70053 • 504-368-1175 FAX 504-368-1195


Study Guide for

There Was an Ol’ Cajun


Deborah Ousley Kadair

Activities included in this study guide:

Book basics

Critical thinking exercises

Writing skills exercise

Story graphing

Paper bag puppet pattern


A silly song to sing!

Created by

Deborah Kadair

Back to Basics

Prior to reading There Was an Ol’ Cajun, be sure to set the stage for

the story. It is important to give the children a preview to what they

are about to hear. Tell them to listen for the rhymes in the story and to

try to determine if the story is fact or fiction.

It is also beneficial to give the child some general “book”

knowledge. Identify for them the parts of a book: the cover, the spine,

the jacket, etc. Show the children how to care for books. Demonstrate

the care one should take in turning pages and allow the children to

share ways that they take care of books. Your librarian will greatly

appreciate your attention to these matters. Let the children know what

a privilege it is to have access to books and libraries. Teach them the

significance of what they have at hand. Help them to find a

connection to literature. Likewise, give the children the name of the

author and illustrator. Help them to understand that it is the author

who writes the words and the illustrator who does the artwork. Book

reading is an excellent springboard to a variety of educational

activities, as well as an enlightening way to spark dialogue. Like so

many other things in life, you will get out of it the amount of effort

you put in to it. Enjoy !!

All Good Things Must Come to an End

The end of the story can be the beginning of a great deal of fun. Have

a discussion about the end of the story. Were the children surprised at

the ending? Can they think of an alternative ending? If they were the

Ol’Cajun, what would they have eaten? As a class students may rewrite

a collective story based on their particular region.

There Was an Ol’ Cowboy who swallowed a ________? Fill in the

blank and have fun with your imagination. Make up a song to

accompany your story. (SEE PAGE 2). Just be creative and the

children will follow your lead.

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“The Cajun in the Swamp” (Sung to “The Farmer in the Dell”)

The Cajun in the swamp, the Cajun in the swamp, now it’s time

to really romp, the Cajun in the swamp.

The Cajun takes a gnat. The Cajun takes the gnat, now it’s time

to really romp, the Cajun in the swamp.

The gnat takes a skeeter. The gnat takes a skeeter. Now it’s time

to really romp, the Cajun in the swamp.

The skeeter takes a newt. The skeeter takes a newt. Now it’s time

to really romp, the Cajun in the swamp.

The newt takes a gar. The newt takes a gar. Now it’s time

to really romp, the Cajun in the swamp.

The gar takes a raccoon. The gar takes a raccoon. Now it’s time

to really romp, the Cajun in the swamp.

The raccoon takes a hound. The raccoon takes a hound. Now it’s time

to really romp, the Cajun in the swamp.

The hound takes a gator. The hound takes a gator. Now it’s time

to really romp, the Cajun in the swamp.

The gator stands alone. The gator stands alone. Now it’s time

to really romp, the gator stands alone.

Loving Louisiana (or your home state)

Talk about what types of wildlife are indigenous to your home state.

Cut out a large poster board in the shape of your state and make a

collage of animals and their habitats that can be found within the

borders of your state. Talk about how important it is to protect these

animals and their homes. For those of us in Louisiana, it is especially

important that we emphasize caring for the wetlands, which are vital

in supporting the wildlife of our great state. Make a display for the

library and share your knowledge with the other students in the


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Creature Feature (a graphing exercise)

Make a graph where each creature in the story is represented. Then

carefully go through the book, as a class, and color in the appropriate

square under each creature as it is mentioned in the story. Once you

have filled in the graph, ask the children a series of questions to help

them utilize the information they have obtained.

A few questions may be:

Which creature was mentioned the most in the story?

Which creature was mentioned the least in the story?

This can be an introduction to graphing that could prove to be

invaluable. Graph other information such as what is everyone’s

favorite color is and so on. The possibilities are endless. Learning to

obtain information from various sources is a vital part of educating the


I Think I CAN!!

Make or obtain an object that represents each person or creature in the

story. Place them in a decorated can with a lid that is easily removed.

This can has 3 possibilities for usage.

*The first way to use it could be as a story can. Place the can in your

language area and let the children take it to their designated area and

use the objects to tell their own stories. The children can then either

write their story or dictate them to an adult.

*The second way the can comes into play is a part of a group activity.

Remove the objects from the can and name them. Ask a child to turn

away and place one of the objects back in the can. When the child

turns back, see if they can identify the missing object. This game is

fun for children of all ages.

*The last way (that I can think of) to use the can is for a sorting

activity. This could be done on an individual basis or as a group. The

objects could be sorted by mammals, reptiles, fish, or amphibians, and

warm-blooded and cold-blooded animals. By size or shape, there are

countless possibilities. You will find countless ways you CAN

enhance the learning of the children around you !

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Ol’Cajun Paperbag Puppet

Supplies needed:

patterns (see attached)



markers or crayons

lunch-size paper bags (white or brown)

construction paper (optional) for shirt or additional clothing

Make enough copies of the patterns for your group. Let the children

color and cut out the pieces. Glue the headpieces of the ol’ Cajun to

the fold of the paper bag. Using a pair of scissors, cut a small slit into

the paper bag fold. This will give the ol’ Cajun a “throat.”

Once your group has made their puppet and colored all of the

creatures, retell the story and let the children’s puppets “swallow” the

creatures as they are consumed in the story. This will be a fun,

interactive way to tell the story.

In Conclusion

There are so many ways that reading enhances the lives of children.

The places they can go are unlimited. Reading gives all of us the

opportunity to laugh a little, smile a little, and learn a great deal. For

those children who are not yet able to read, hearing stories increases

their vocabularies, enhances their reading comprehension skills, and

sparks their imaginations. Stories do not put limits on children and

they encourage them to live beyond circumstantial boundaries. Books

are invaluable learning tools and there is something available to

compliment any unit or topic that may be of interest. Hopefully, these

ideas will be a springboard to learning for the child or children whose

lives you touch.

What’s black and white and read all over? A book...


Best Wishes!


Pelican Publishing Company

Pelican Publishing Company


1000 BURMASTER ST., GRETNA, LA 70053 • 504-368-1175 FAX 504-368-1195


There Was an Ol’ Cajun

Written and Illustrated by Deborah Ousley Kadair

There was an ol’ Cajun who swallowed a gnat. Imagine that, he swallowed a gnat. Why he did

dat?” In this retelling of the classic nursery rhyme, There Was an Old Woman Who Swallowed a

Fly, the gnat is soon joined by a mosquito, a raccoon, a hound, and other swamp creatures. But

when the old Cajun tries to swallow an alligator, he gets a big surprise.

This book’s imaginative, collage-style illustrations will enchant and inspire young readers. Mrs.

Kadair uses pebbles, Spanish moss, and other authentic Louisiana ingredients to bring the old

Cajun’s story to life. Children and adults alike will enjoy the clever, rhyming text.


First-time author and illustrator Deborah Ousley Kadair taught in Montessori schools for many

years. She was inspired to write this book after her husband, who is really is a Cajun, swallowed a

gnat. Mrs. Kadair lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.


By Deborah Ousley Kadair

32 pp. 8½ x 11

17 color illus.

ISBN: 1-56554-917-1 $15.95

Deborah Ousley Kadair

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