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The Story Behind the Story of An Orangutan's Night Before Christmas

Written by Laura Boldin-Fournier

Art by Stan Jaskiel

Pelican Publishing, 2016


AN ORANGUTAN’S NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS by Laura Boldin-Fournier is a hilarious fractured retelling of Clement C. Moore’s classic poem featuring delightful illustrations filled with monkeyshines on every page. Read it and meet Santa’s newest helper, an orangutan. A word of advice: Don’t say, “Ooka moo moo la goo,” unless you know what it means.

All is calm as the animals dream and the keeper decorates the zoo exhibits on Christmas Eve . . . but not for long! More rapid than cheetahs, a team of flying zebras hauling a sleigh lands on top of the souvenir shop, revealing Santa’s newest helper: Oranga-Claus! The hairy old ape knows just what all the lions, penguins, llamas, kangaroos, hippopotamuses, and other zoo animals want in their stockings for Christmas—and what the keeper wants, too!


by Laura Boldin-Fournier

When a friend told me how he liked to wrap up holiday presents for his dogs, I thought it was a great idea for a book. After all, animals deserve to be rewarded. They give people so much love and joy. I began writing about a dog until I realized including other animals offered more possibilities for illustrations. Using the zoo as the setting seemed like the best choice. At first, I thought Santa might give presents to the animals. However, because he has so much to do for children on Christmas Eve, I decided to create an animal helper for him. It had to be a creature who was strong enough to carry a sack full of toys. I chose an orangutan because they’re smart, agile, and strong. I named my character, Oranga Claus. After receiving valuable suggestions from my SCBWI critique groups, I revised my manuscript many times. The Pelican Publishing Company accepted AN ORANGUTAN’S NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS from the slush pile. They hired a talented cartoonist, Stan Jaskiel, to create the illustrations. Thanks to his colorful paintings, the world knows what Oranga Claus and his team of zebras look like.


Laura Boldin-Fournier is a former teacher who loves chocolate, books, and animals. She lives in Florida and enjoys watching birds, squirrels, rabbits, and lizards pass by her window while she’s writing humorous stories. She’s the author of AN ORANGUTAN'S NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS, a picture book published by Pelican. Her stories have also appeared in CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE SOUL books, and other anthologies and magazines. She’s a member of the SCBWI and enjoys speaking at libraries, schools, literary events, and judging writing contests.



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