*Note, while I will try to avoid major spoilers, I sometimes won't be able to help it.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

"The Teachers' Night Before Christmas" by Steven Layne, Illustrated by James Rice

Before you rush out and buy this book, let me explain it a little. I thought that The Teachers' Night Before Christmas would be really cute and fun, but instead found it to be a little depressing. It is not a book I would want to read with a child. The teachers are extremely stressed about the Christmas season and all of the projects going on at school (which makes sense, there is always a lot going on that time of year). There just seems to be a little too much negativity going on this book for it to be enjoyable for me. It is told from the point of view of the teachers and at times I almost felt like the students were being mocked by said teachers (on many of the pages there are doodles on the classroom chalkboards and if a word can be misspelled it is, which I found a little unfortunate). While I wouldn't want to give this to a kid, I could see teachers getting a kick out of this book. I am glad the Layne did stick to the format of Twas the Night Before Christmas instead of just writing a story without the poetic format. There are a few other books in this series (The Librarian's Night Before Christmas and Preachers' Night Before Christmas are just two of the titles) and I assume that they will be in same style and format and would appeal to those in said professions more than to children (at some point I will give them a read though).

And since people are always looking for it:

A Visit from St. Nicholas
By Clement Clarke Moore

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
The children were nestled all snug in their beds;
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
And mamma in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter's nap,
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow,
Gave a lustre of midday to objects below,
When what to my wondering eyes did appear,
But a miniature sleigh and eight tiny rein-deer,
With a little old driver so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment he must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name:
"Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! on, Cupid! on, Donder and Blixen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!"
As leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;
So up to the housetop the coursers they flew
With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too—
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a pedler just opening his pack.
His eyes—how they twinkled! his dimples, how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard on his chin was as white as the snow;
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke, it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a little round belly
That shook when he laughed, like a bowl full of jelly.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight—
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”

Happy Reading!

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