’TWAS THE DAY BEFORE CHRISTMAS

THE STORY OF CLEMENT CLARKE MOORE’S BELOVED POEM

Seabrooke presents a problematic fictionalized account of the circumstances in which Moore wrote the famous Christmas poem. The story describes Moore’s home and family and provides some background on life in Manhattan in 1822. Bettoli’s charming illustrations, reminiscent of dePaola, capture the styles and household details of the period, reinforcing the old-fashioned ambiance. Moore’s motivations for writing the poem as well as possible influences from other literature and the Dutch culture of the area are woven into the story, and his six-year-old daughter, Charity, provides a focus for young readers. The proud father reads his newly completed poem to his family on Christmas Eve, and the text of “A Visit from St. Nicholas” is included within the story. There is no author’s note to indicate the research sources, nor is there a badly needed additional note on authorial attribution. There is considerable controversy in the academic world as to whether Moore was actually the author of the famous poem, rendering the wisdom of this whole enterprise questionable. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-525-47816-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2008

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A PLUMP AND PERKY TURKEY

The leaves have changed, Thanksgiving nears—and the canny turkeys of Squawk Valley have decamped, leaving local residents to face the prospect of a birdless holiday. What to do? They decide to lure a bird back by appealing to its vanity, placing a want ad for a model to help sculptors creating turkey art, then “inviting” the bird to dinner. The ploy works, too, for out of the woods struts plump and perky Pete to take on the job. Shelly debuts with brightly hued cartoon scenes featuring pop-eyed country folk and deceptively silly-looking gobblers. Pete may be vain, but he hasn’t lost the wiliness of his wild ancestors; when the townsfolk come for him, he hides amidst a flock of sculpted gobblers—“There were turkeys made of spuds, / there were turkeys made of rope. / There were turkeys made of paper, / there were turkeys made of soap. / The room was full of turkeys / in a wall to wall collage. / For a clever bird like Pete / it was perfect camouflage.” He makes his escape, and is last seen lounging on a turkey-filled tropical beach as the disappointed Squawk Valleyites gather round the table for a main course of . . . shredded wheat. Good for a few giggles. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2001

ISBN: 1-890817-91-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2001

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GINGERBREAD BABY

In a snowbound Swiss village, Matti figures it’s a good day to make a gingerbread man. He and his mother mix a batch of gingerbread and tuck it in the oven, but Matti is too impatient to wait ten minutes without peeking. When he opens the door, out pops a gingerbread baby, taunting the familiar refrain, “Catch me if you can.” The brash imp races all over the village, teasing animals and tweaking the noses of the citizenry, until there is a fair crowd on his heels intent on giving him a drubbing. Always he remains just out of reach as he races over the winterscape, beautifully rendered with elegant countryside and architectural details by Brett. All the while, Matti is busy back home, building a gingerbread house to entice the nervy cookie to safe harbor. It works, too, and Matti is able to spirit the gingerbread baby away from the mob. The mischief-maker may be a brat, but the gingerbread cookie is also the agent of good cheer, and Brett allows that spirit to run free on these pages. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-399-23444-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1999

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