'Twas the Night B'Fore Christmas: An African-American Version

Melodye Rosales, Author, Melodye Rosales, Illustrator Scholastic $14.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-590-73944-3
Rosales's (On the Day I Was Born) rendition of the well-loved Clement C. Moore poem casts a ""Santy Claus... with skin like molasses"" who directs his reindeer with ""Giddy-up y'all!"" and lands on the roof of an African American family. Her tweaking of the verses, adding dialect and atmospheric description (""Like tobacco leaves whipped by a hurricane"") joins with the art in creating a new setting, a small North Carolina farm at the turn of the century. Despite the frequently exaggerated expressions of human and reindeer figures, the tender oil paintings radiate warmth. Ages 3-8. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/02/1996
Release date: 10/01/1996
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