A Creature Was Stirring

A Creature Was Stirring

One Boy's Night Before Christmas

Book - 2006
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As a family lives out the famous poem by Clement Moore, a young boy is unable to sleep and, in his excitement, performs several deeds bound to place him on the naughty list, and one that just might save him.
Publisher: New York : Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, c2006.
ISBN: 9780689863998
Characteristics: 1 v. (unpaged) :,col. ill. ;,30 cm.
Additional Contributors: Moore, Clement Clarke 1779-1863.


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FindingJane Feb 18, 2016

I’ve seen countless literary renditions of Clement Clarke Moore’s “A Visit from St. Nicholas” (some of them even manage to get the title right). So for one of those to pique my interest, it has to have something special: riveting illustrations and/or a stunning cover or a unique twist in the storyline. The latter features in this tale, as we have one observer who breaks the rules about staying asleep during Santa’s fateful visit.

But wait a sec! The original poem featured someone who was wide awake as well! But that was presumably a grownup that was awakened by a dreadful noise coming from the lawn. This wakeful watcher is a nervous little boy who doesn’t want Santa to catch him up and about from his bed. The new rhymes run on opposite pages of the original verse as the kid tries vainly to get to sleep, worried that the fat man in the red suit will put him on the “naughty” list. It’s a gentle, winking tribute to Moore’s original poem as the plucky young lad manages to redeem himself and, yes, save Christmas.

The illustrations are charming, softly rendered with the pencil marks prominent. There is no attempt at photorealism here—the artist knows how to make a little look like a lot. (The reindeer could be moose, deer or elk with stick-like antlers stuck on them.) The Santa has an old-fashioned appearance with a pointy cap and cape and a sly look that really does make him look rather elfin in nature.

This loving homage to a Christmas classic is sure to please boys and girls, especially those who don’t get sugarplums dancing in their heads (and who dreams about those, anyway?).

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