Reviews for Night Before Christmas

Booklist Reviews 2009 October #1
"Clement C. Moore's classic poem is relocated to an African village in Isadora's latest (Hansel and Gretel, 2009; Rapunzel, 2008). The poem doesn't change, so this telling is all about the setting: Isadora brings to life an African home, from the traditional dress and furnishings to the gifts Santa leaves. Santa himself is cheerfully dressed in cheetah-spotted pants with white dreadlocks. The vibrant spreads are lively, filled with thick, textured brushstrokes; cut-paper-like collages; and intricate patterns. Children will enjoy poring over the details in repeated readings." Copyright 2009 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2009 #6
In this Christmas fantasy, Isadora creatively recasts Moore's famous verse, transporting readers to a snow-dusted African village. While the children dream of sugarplums, mamma ("in her 'kerchief," a patterned head wrap) and the narrator, wearing traditional African dress and cap, mark Santa's arrival, reindeer in tow. St. Nick, cheeks round and rosy against brown skin, is dressed in a big red coat, jaunty red hat (beneath which spill snowy-white dreadlocks barely contained by multicolored hair bands), heavy black boots -- and orange giraffe-print trousers. His gifts include a train set, a bicycle, and African dolls and stuffed animals (elephant, zebra, giraffe). As Santa takes off, the family looks on in wonder as, silhouetted against a large, yellow full moon in a midnight-blue sky, he bids them adieu ("Happy Christmas to all. / And to all a good-night!"). Throughout the collage illustrations, patterns, colors, and textures beautifully evoke the familiarity of Christmas holiday traditions within a distinctly nontraditional setting. Copyright 2009 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2009 September #2
Isadora continues her series of traditional tales recast in African settings with this novel interpretation of the classic poem. Snow is magically falling on a village on the savanna as the first few pages lead Santa and his reindeer to a cozy home with three sleeping children. This memorable Santa has dark skin, white dreadlocks, a kente-cloth belt and giraffe-print pants, with striped fur decorating his red jacket. The stunning collage illustrations are filled with traditional clothing, patterned fabrics and handmade toys for the children's gifts. Even the reindeer have special beaded collars and kente-cloth wrappers around their ankles. The entire book is exquisitely designed, from the vibrant hand-cut letters on the cover to the final spread with the amazed family watching Santa's sleigh in silhouette against a full golden moon. (Picture book. 3-7) Copyright Kirkus 2009 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2009 October #4

Employing her trademark aesthetic, Isadora sets Moore's classic poem in Africa--her Santa Claus wears bright leopard-print pants and has gray dreadlocks. Mama's "kerchief" is a pink floral do-rag and the narrator is dressed in African attire, as he springs from bed to see the silhouette of Santa's sleigh (the reindeer are adorned with decorative beads) race across the sparse, snowy terrain. The gifts Santa pulls from his bag include a sock monkey, a zebra and three colorful dolls. The dynamic visuals offer a refreshing and original vision of this familiar verse. Ages 4-8. (Oct.)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2009 October

Gr 1-3-Santa's Christmas Eve journey takes him to Africa in this charming version of the poem. Isadora uses collaged papers and oil paints to create a vibrant African village, dusted by snow. The tiny house barely supports the sleigh, and Santa (with zebra fur on his jacket, leopard-spotted pants, and a vibrant Kente-cloth belt) comes down the wood stove's chimney, leaving traditional African presents for the slumbering children. Full of details, rich color, and an exuberant spirit, this book will provide opportunities for discussion as well as a new cultural landscape for the "right jolly old elf."-Anne Connor, Los Angeles Public Library

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