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’TWAS THE DAY BEFORE CHRISTMAS by Brenda Seabrooke

’TWAS THE DAY BEFORE CHRISTMAS

The Story of Clement Clarke Moore’s Beloved Poem

By Brenda Seabrooke (Author) , Delana Bettoli (Illustrator)

Age Range: 6 - 8

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-525-47816-4
Publisher: Dutton

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)