Monday, December 24, 2012

The Night Before Christmas - Clement C. Moore & Mary Engelbreit

Summary:  Readers young and old are invited into the enchanting world of Mary Engelbreit in this sparkling edition of Clement C. Moore's classic poem. It is the night before Christmas, in a house so cozy and colorful, so filled with expectation, so dusted with Christmas magic that only this beloved illustrator could have created it. Shhh. A mouse is asleep in its snug den and children are dreaming as sugarplum fairies flutter around their bed. Then there's the jingle of bells. . . 

For this merry celebration of Christmas, Mary Engelbreit has filled every page with bewitching details, rich color, and memorable characters. These include a bevy of mischievous elves, an adorable mouse, and a lovable, bespectacled Santa. The images in Mary's joyous vision will bring discovery and delight to generations of readers.  (Summary and image from

My Revew:  Every Christmas Eve, our family puts on a Christmas program in front of a roaring fire.  First we open our Christmas jammies (well, the kids do), then we read the Christmas Story from Luke, while the girls act it out.  We sing songs.  We drink cocoa.  Then we settle down for one last story before bedtime.  This story.

For the last several years, I've read from a different version of this book -- one that I thought was boring, and more "artsy" than magical, but it was what we had.  Finally, last year I broke down and bought Mary Engelbriet's version.   I am so glad I did.  My children and I adore it!  The change in their demeanor while I read was hard to miss.  Before, they listened but didn't really engage in the story.  This time they sat close to the page and I could see their eyes sparkling with excitement as they took in the gorgeous detail and whimsical illustrations so characteristic of Englebreit's style.   Here's a few sample pages, so you can see what I mean:

Isn't it lovely!?  This is the version I will read to my grandchildren.  It helps even an old adult like me, feel the magic of Christmas.

My Rating: 5 Stars

For the sensitive reader: Santa's smokes a pipe that I can only assume is filled with tobacco.  Seriously, someone needs to inform that jolly old elf about cancer.  

Sum it up:  My favorite version of an old classic.

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