Book: The Night Before Christmas
Author: Clement C. Moore
Illustrator: David Ercolini
Age Range: 3-6
If asked, I probably would have said that a new illustrated version of The Night Before Christmas, with the classic text by Clement C. Moore, was unnecessary. I would have been wrong. David Ercolini's brand-new version of this tale is hilarious, and offers great fun for preschool and kindergarten-age readers.
The text is the straight-up traditional version. But in Ercolini's vision of the story, the narrator is Christmas-decoration-obsessed. His house has decorations on every imaginable surface. His roof features a giant Santa statue (shown on the cover with Santa's reindeer treating it as a tourist attraction). Even his truck sports reindeer antlers and a wreath. He's like a quirkier, more charming, Clark Griswold. When he hears the clatter, he is reading in bed to the light of a Christmas candle (headboard and footboard bedecked with ornaments), deep in a copy of "Home Decor: Christmas Issue".
The house is paradise for Santa. There's a welcome sign on the chimney, and a welcome mat in the fireplace. Instead of the usual plate of cookies, there is an entire buffet of desserts, complete with a giant bowl of eggnog. You can tell that Santa considers this house a highlight of his journey.
There are other fun details, too. The mouse may not be stirring, but we can see him living in the partially eaten gingerbread house. The cat, the dog, and mouse share their wish lists with Santa. The mouse gets a remote-control car, which Santa helps him drive. And all kinds of decorations have wide, round eyes which open when something is surprising. The sugarplums not only dance, they basically have a party. One of the reindeer wears a football helmet for some reason (all of them are unusual). In short, this is a book in which young readers will find something new and entertaining on every read.
David Ercolini's version of The Night Before Christmas is fun and inventive, the perfect book to keep your preschooler occupied in the run-up towards Christmas. Beware, however, of it giving your kids ideas. My daughter now wants us to bake a cake for Santa. And if she could, I'm sure she'd have a mouse come to live in our gingerbread house. Highly recommended! This would be a great addition to library or home holiday collections.
Publisher: Orchard Books (@Scholastic)
Publication Date: September 29, 2015
Source of Book: Advance review copy from the publisher
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