There's something about Louisiana that just breeds stories, from its swampy terrain to its storied history, from the Old World feel of New Orleans to the plantations and cotton fields. And there's always the Mississippi River for atmosphere. It should come as no surprise then, that a man like James Carville would have a few stories to tell. The Louisiana-born-and-raised Democratic political consultant, best known as Bill Clinton's campaign advisor, television commentator and one-half of a mixed political marriage with Republican consultant Mary Matalin, recounts a childhood tale in Lu and the Swamp Ghost, his first children's book.

The best stories are those handed down, and in the case of Lu, it's a story with origins in something that happened to Carville's mother Lucille during her Depression-era childhood. Lu is a poor girl who doesn't know she's poor; like all children with a loving family, she's rich in all the things that matter. All except one she has no friends her own age. One day, while helping her Papa check turkey traps, she meets what may or may not be the dreaded swamp ghost she's heard about. Ghost or not, he's definitely hungry, and Lu finds that in feeding him, she may have found the friend she's been looking for.

Carville's charming story is brought to life with the help of Newbery and Caldecott winner Patricia McKissack, and accompanied by the delightful drawings of political cartoonist and children's illustrator David Catrow. Southern in its origins, but universal in its appeal, Lu and the Swamp Ghost is a fun and spooky book about the value of friendship in hard times. Youngsters should love it, whatever the political affiliations of their parents may be.

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