Twas the Night Before ...

Posted by Big Universe on Nov 22, 2012 6:45:51 AM

When I first heard the news about "Black Thursday" I had to ask myself is there ever a night before anything anymore?

Now, I am not one of those people who get up at 4 o'clock in the morning to wait for a store to open ... and I am not one of those people who will cut short my day to shop Thursday night. Still, its impossible not to notice the "creep" toward eliminating the anticipation ... that night before.

I guess I shouldn't whine too much, for years now Clement Clarke Moore's beloved story A Visit from Saint Nicholas has been reshaped and molded into all sorts of tales. Most of us don't even know it by that name! To us, it is 'Twas the Night Before Christmas.

Over the years we've read many versions. Some are "eh." Some are truly fresh takes on the poem. So to get us in the holiday spirit, I thought I would offer some reviews of versions that are lyrical (like the original) and fun.

Runaway Dreidel
by Leslie Newman; illustrated by Kyrsten Brooker
Henry Holt and Company, 2002

On the first night of Hanukkah, a young boy receives a new dreidel. It spins on endlessly, engaging family, friends, and neighbors in an adventure to capture it.

  • The book is a fast read, and individuals of all faiths can enjoy this Hanukkah tale.
  • There is plenty of action and opportunities to teach/learn about Hanukkah in a way preschoolers can comprehend.
  • It will offer the kids' enjoyment for many years.
  • This is a fun story, that is quite descriptive poetically and visually.
  • Our 3-year-old was instantly taken with the story (no doubt in part to the rhyming sequence) and asked to read it quite a few nights

A Pirate's Night Before Christmas
written by Philip Yates; illustrated by Sebastia Serra
Sterling Publishing, 2008

Do pirates get Christmas treasure? So who does delivers it? No, it's not Santa. Ahoy, it is Sir Peggedy and his eight trusty seahorses. This is a seaworthy retelling of Clement C. Moore's classic poem.

  • My 7-year-old daughter shivered-me-timbers and laughed her way through this one.
  • Clever, clever, clever. This is probably the most clever re-modeling of the classic that I've ever seen.
  • The descriptions of the pirates and events are vivid and brought to life in wonderful colorful.
  • There is pirate jargon galore and the glossary in the back is a riot. So not only is it fun, you learn something, too.

'Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving
written and illustrated by Dav Pilkey
Orchard Books, 1990

In this seasonal tale, a school bus full of children visit a turkey farm. The students save turkeys about to be sacrificed for the holiday.

  • Our 2-year-old enjoyed reading this book, especially with friends. They got into the rhythm of the story. While s/he didn't understand the impending danger that the turkeys were in, there was no hiding how the children had grown fatter as they re-boarded the bus.
  • This silly imitation of Twas the Night Before Christmas makes it even more fun will make reading this book a family tradition.
  • With such a fun imitation of T'was the Night Before Christmas, there's ample opportunity for the story to grow with toddler and be a classic Thanksgiving tradition.
  • This one has all of the elements of the season: empathy, compassion, sharing, blessings and love.

As promised ... I didn't cut short our Thanksgiving celebration!

Do you have a favorite riff on 'Twas the Night Before Christmas? We'd love to hear about it.

Topics: Personal Experiences, Reviews

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