Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

The Night Before Christmas

Reid, Barbara (Illustrator)
Scholastic Canada 2013. 32 pages
First published: 1823
ISBN: 9781443124713 (hardcover)
Original language: English
Book type: Picture Book

Text Elements:

point of view

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL Intensive & Enriched
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

“Twas the night before Christmas.” The classic beloved holiday verse is newly envisioned through delightful Plasticine-art illustrations. In this version, “Mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,” are the mice-parents of a large brood; they all make their home in a hollow log at the edge of the forest.

As the rhymes flow, readers of all ages will pore over the clever details in these images. The family home is ready for Christmas, with a sprig of decorated evergreen stuck in a spool. Papa grabs up one cavorting child, while holding a swaddled baby in the other arm. Mamma feeds yet another, in a highchair made from a walnut shell.

The excitement of Christmas Eve night is depicted with squirming mice-kids tucked into bunk beds made from pencils and birch bark. The “right jolly old elf,” St. Nick himself, runs his reindeer team with style. That he is also a mouse brings new meaning to the phrase, “He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot.”

In the end, the children finally are sleeping, and St. Nicholas waves a cheery salute from the snow-dotted skies: “Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night.”

  •  

    With a friend, discuss Christmas Eve traditions in your family. After reading, decide which ones correspond to those in the poem.

  •  

    Create a class picto-glossary chart for unfamiliar words found in the poem (kerchief, sash, thistle, etc.).

  •  Find and examine other versions of this classic poem and compare them using a Venn diagram. Which appeals to you the most and why? 
  •  

    On Barbara Reid’s website, she describes two Christmas Plasticine projects. Try one. What do you know now about her artwork?

  •  

    Divide the text into 1­–2 line segments and perform it as a Reader’s Theatre for younger students.

  •  

    Go on a picture walk and tell the story from the pictures. Read the story aloud and compare your story to the author’s.

  •  

    Observe the elements used to create the mouse house. Name the objects. Think of different ways of organizing these objects (alphabetical order, food, toys, things for school, etc.).

  •  

    Prepare a Reader’s Theatre for other students in your school. Choose costumes and Christmas carols to enhance your presentation.

  •  

    Compare different versions of “The Night Before Christmas.” How are they similar or different? Use a graphic organizer to share your findings.

  • To communicate appropriately
  • To use creativity
  • Citizenship and Community Life
  • Ethics and Religious Culture