Kids Book Review: The Night Before Christmas

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The Night Before Christmas
Imagine Books/Charlesbridge Publishing
age 5-8
Performed by Peter, Paul and Mary; written by Clement C. Moore; paintings by Eric Puybaret
26 pages

Synopsis from Charlesbridge Publishing:

Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas without a reading of Clement C. Moore’s classic verse, which has brightened the season ever since it was first published in 1823. And now this heartwarming poem is more dazzling than ever before.Acclaimed painter Eric Puybaret enchantingly captures the story’s magic and wide-eyed wonder: a cozy home with stockings hung by a mantel; visions of sugarplums dancing in the dreams of sleeping children; a miniature sleigh pulled by eight prancing reindeer; and of course, jolly Santa, with his merry dimples and twinkling eyes, coming down the chimney with a bagful of toys.

Along with the beautiful book comes a specially created three-track musical and narrative CD, including Moore’s tale stunningly set to music by Noel Paul Stookey, an enchanting reading by Mary Travers over a special score composed by Peter Yarrow with Peter and Noel joining Mary one last time in her final performance, plus the classic Peter, Paul and Mary holiday favorite, “A’ Soalin.” Families will gather together to read and listen and experience Moore’s wondrous world as never before.

Althought the storye, The Night Before Christmas isn’t new, the adaption by Peter, Paul and Mary is beautiful. The CD included with the book contains 3 tracks: one has a vocal version of the story, the second has Mary reading the story to a beautiful musical background track, and the third is a wonderful version of A Soalin. I love many of Peter, Paul, and Mary’s songs and to have their wonderful music used to retell a class Christmas story is just beautiful.

In my mind, Christmas falls into two realms: that of old world, vintage charm (hand-stitched stockings, wood burning fireplace) or whimsical world of colourful imagination. The paintings for The Night Before Christmas fall in the later. The intensely rich and bright colours pop off the page and put you in a childhood state of mind – shiny store window displays, bring coloured gifts under the tree, sugar-coated candy treats. I just love looking at the images. The book can be read on it’s own or viewed while listening to the CD or you can just listen to the CD. It’s a wonderful addition to any family’s holiday library.

You can also get an iPad version of this book. Take a peek at the preview video here.

You can add The Night Before Christmas to your personal library by visiting your local book store or visiting Charlesbridge Publishing. Visit our Kid’s Books section for other great book recommendations. What are you reading with your kids?

I have to thank Charlesbridge Publishing for my review copy.

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