cover image The Night Before Christmas

The Night Before Christmas

Clement C. Moore, illus. by Barbara Reid. Albert Whitman, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-8075-5625-2

Never mind that shelves are jammed with versions of this classic: make room for Reid’s (Picture a Tree) innovative interpretation, distinguished by her trademark Plasticine artwork and a generous supply of humor. Reid turns Moore’s verse on its head, revealing a mouse who is very much stirring—it stares out at readers in alarm, caught in the act of sneaking a cookie from a bowl. This isn’t the only mouse awake, either: its siblings are scrambling to hang their stockings by the fireplace. The discrepancy between the familiar words and fresh visuals provides ample humor as the mice resist bedtime, rather than nestling “all snug in their beds.” Tableaux-style scenes let readers view antics on both stories of the mice’s log house, and Reid’s artistry results in detailed scenarios with uncommon dimension and texture. Ages 4–7. (Sept.)