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SILENT NIGHT by Maureen Brett Hooper


by Maureen Brett Hooper & illustrated by Kasi Kubiak

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2001
ISBN: 1-56397-782-6
Publisher: Boyds Mills

The tale of “Silent Night”—composed in haste by a 19th-century Austrian priest and his organist when their church’s organ broke down just before Christmas and first sung with only a guitar for accompaniment—is robbed of any sense of wonder by this flat, uninspired retelling. From beginning (“ ‘Tomorrow night we will have a wonderful Christmas Eve service,’ he thought”), to end (“Mrs. Gruber and the children clasped their hands with delight”) the text is stiff as a board, paired with art that is all correctly drawn but generic, conventionally posed figures with bland expressions. Worse, while this is based on the truth, invented dialogue runs rampant throughout the presentation. Neither pictures nor words capture any sense of the carol’s soaring beauty or heartfelt emotion. A distant also-ran behind Margaret Hodges’s Silent Night: The Song and Its Story (1997), illustrated by Tim Ladwig. (historical note) (Picture book/nonfiction. 8-10)