What a hoot! This rendition of Clement C. Moore’s classic “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” is so original, dedicated “For all the overworked underpaid librarians.” And it is a perfect fit!
A read for children? Probably not! But…it is for adults, especially for librarians, library staff, literary buffs, readers who still use public libraries! Filled with library terms, this poem is a work along the lines of Mr. Davis’ other “Night Before Christmas” series (Nurse’s, Lawyer’s, Cowboy’s, etc.). He weaves interlibrary loans, “Hawthorne, Jane Austen, Steinbeck, and Millay,” book carts, Newbery, Caldecott, New York bestseller, “Dewey and his decimal system,” overdue fines…and more…in and throughout the poetic lines! Thus, you can see why adults would appreciate this whimsical book far more than a child who would be anticipating the original “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.”
As we turn to the first page, we see a librarian with a tired, sad face shelving books on Christmas Eve. There are children still in the library reading, totally enchanted by their books.
‘Twas a cold Yuletide evening, and I wandered the stacks,
Shelving multiple titles that the patrons brought back.
We toiled overtime at our library here,
‘Cause the powers that be cut our staffing this year.
They spent pork-barrel money like a tidal-wave seas,
But no funds trickled down far enough to reach me.
And thus we begin!
But Santa comes flying in from atop the trees in his red bookmobile, rocket a-flare and an helicopter blade a-spinning. Upon landing, the doors open wide while elves jump out with stacks of books in their hands. The library is ‘the little one’ who receives the gifts this year…books in all genres, decorations for Christmas, a new carpet, pictures for the walls, and even a story time to the real children by Santa Claus.
The wording is so clever and fitting of the financial times for most library systems in the country…
“For the book-budget cutters, Old Claus had no plan,
‘Cause if they could read, they just read Ayn Rand.”
The artwork is filled with exceptional detail, including the twinkling eyes, splendidly expressed on Santa. There are tiny stories told between the lines in artful manner (or as PBS’ series is titled–“Between the Lions”...you know…those two lions on either side of the gate as you walk in the library? TeeHee! I just got my own double entendre!). Jim Harris, the illustrator, does a masterful job at bringing the poem to visual life through his colorful and lighthearted characters as well as the library’s decor. Take your time in the reading because you will want to really look at the illustrations.
Reading Level: 5 – 8 Years, but really for the adult reading audience and librarians!
David Davis grew up in San Antonio, Texas. He writes Travels with Grandpaw, his graphic art stories about old time Texas, now featured on his website.
He authored Jazz Cats and Ten Redneck Babies, both of which were named to the Children’s Choice Top 100 List. Jazz Cats was also a finalist for the Texas Golden Spur Award.
Mr. Davis has published pen-and-ink artwork, cartoons, poems, humor, and short stories in various magazines and newspapers.
He’s been a featured author at the Texas Library Association Convention and the Texas Book Festival. He lives in Forth Worth, Texas.
Jim Harris was born in 1955 in North Carolina, now residing in Upper Moutere, New Zealand. He has illustrated and written children’s books, with more than three million copies in print. His books are best known for their detailed and humorous depictions of animal and human characters.
Jim Harris’s delightful artwork has brought smiles to the pages of original books and classic retellings, such as The Tortoise and the Hare, Rapunzel, and The Three Little Pigs.
He uses watercolor, oil, acrylic and gouache paintings and pencil drawings.
Many of Mr. Harris’ books have won awards too numerous to list in this space.
This website is filled with Mr. Harris’ art — http://jimharrisillustrator.com/index.html
The publisher of this book has information about Mr. Harris @ http://www.pelicanpub.com/proddetail.php?prod=9781589803367#.Vm5I03vxtFA
Publisher: Pelican Publishing Company, Incorporated
Publication date: 02/28/2007
Series: Night Before Christmas Series
Product dimensions: 8.70(w) x 11.00(h) x 0.40(d)