I get very excited about introducing my children to Christmas traditions, and one of the ones I’m keen on is reading the famous poem The Night Before Christmas (originally by Clement Clarke Moore) on Christmas Eve. I get excited when I hear the opening words:
It was the night before Christmas and all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
Last year, I shopped quite a while to find a copy of the poem set out in an appealing children’s book. I found one with some very classic, old-fashioned illustrations. I wrapped it up with the intention of offering it to my then-3-year-old son on Christmas Eve. I thought he would enjoy unwrapping a present “early” and then sharing this lovely story together. However, after he unwrapped the book, he didn’t want to read it!
My son loves books and reading so I was very surprised. However, occasionally I pick up a book and he refuses to look at it. I can only assume it’s because there’s something about the illustrations or design that doesn’t appeal to him. Unfortunately, this was the case with the book I bought last year. He just wasn’t interested. It still sits rather forlorn and unloved on his bookshelf.
So I was pleased when NurseryBox approached me and asked me to review their newly published ebook version of the story, by Rose Collins.
The story has been adapted and illustrated with modern children in mind. As you can see from the cover, the illustrations are bright, cartoonish and recognisable to a child’s vision of what Santa’s reindeer might look like. When Santa himself appears, he has the big red outfit and chubby cheeks one would expect (unlike the version I bought last year, which had some sort of skinny Scandinavian-style Santa).
The family that Santa visits also happens to be friendly bears instead of humans – and you and I both know how much kids love a bit of anthropomorphism.
Another twist that I like is that it makes an extra effort to be gender inclusive. What’s that, you say? Well, I actually emailed the person who sent me the book to say that there’s a typo. One of the reindeers is called “Donna” instead of “Donner”, I told her. She told me that this was intentional! NurseryBox did market research with their audience, and girls had said they were disappointed that all of the reindeers were boys. So they took advantage of the homophone and changed the male Donner into a female Donna. What a lovely idea!
So I like this book, but I’m not the one who’s important. I put it to the real test and read it with my 4yo. To my delight, he loved it! And he’s extra excited that we can put it on his tablet for him to look at on his own. This year he is aware of our plan to read it on Christmas Eve, and looking forward to it. And I’m so excited that we can share this classic bit of literature in a format we can both enjoy.
Disclosure: I received a copy of the ebook for the purposes of this review.