Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

A Creature was Stirring: One Boy’s Night Before Christmas

A Creature was Stirring: One Boy’s Night Before Christmas

Clement C. Moore , Carter Goodrich
Illustrator:   Carter Goodrich 
Picture Book
For ages 4 to 8
Simon and Schuster, 2006   ISBN: 978-0689863998

Most of us have heard the lines "Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house / not a creature was stirring not even a mouse." Well in this house on Christmas Eve, something quite a bit bigger than a mouse is stirring - a little boy is up and about though he knows he should be fast asleep in his bed. He knows being awake at this time is a "naughty mistake" in Santa's eyes but he just cannot seem to fall asleep. He wishes he could be like the children in the poem who were "nestled all snug in their beds." Instead here he is worrying about what Santa is going to think of him for breaking one of the Christmas Eve rules.

Then the little boy hears something. At first he tries to pretend that he is asleep but then he decides to look "to be sure that he's real." What he sees astonishes him for the sight is just like the description in the poem. Then, after Santa has disappeared down the chimney, the little boy takes a closer look at the sleigh and he realizes that something is not quite right for Santa has forgotten to put his "sleigh parking brake" on. Now what should the little boy do?

In this beautifully illustrated picture book Carter Goodrich introduces us to a little boy who has his own special Christmas Eve adventure. Goodrich places Clement C. Moore's famous poem on one page and then a humorous poem written in the voice of the little boy on the adjacent page. The boy clearly knows the Moore poem and refers to it. Thus we see scenes from Moore's poem on one page and opposite we see scenes from the little boy's poem. Atmospheric illustrations rich with subtle shades of green and blue and purple perfectly capture the magic of this special evening and readers will be delighted to see that, in the end, the two poems converge on one double page spread as both Santa and the little boy wish each other, and us, "Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night."