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'Twas the Night B'Fore Christmas: An African-American Version Hardcover – October, 1996


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Children's Christmas Books
Visit the Children's Christmas Bookstore to find stories about Santa and his reindeer, cozy books to read by the fire, and sweet stories about family celebrations.

Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 and up
  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Scholastic (October 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0590739441
  • ISBN-13: 978-0590739443
  • Product Dimensions: 12.5 x 9.4 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #298,713 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Rosales's (On the Day I Was Born) rendition of the well-loved Clement C. Moore poem casts a "Santy Claus... with skin like molasses" who directs his reindeer with "Giddy-up y'all!" and lands on the roof of an African American family. Her tweaking of the verses, adding dialect and atmospheric description ("Like tobacco leaves whipped by a hurricane") joins with the art in creating a new setting, a small North Carolina farm at the turn of the century. Despite the frequently exaggerated expressions of human and reindeer figures, the tender oil paintings radiate warmth. Ages 3-8.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 20, 2002
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I just loved it. My daughter, a kindergardener brought it home from the library today, and here I am purchasing it already it was so enjoyable. I am a white woman (if it matters). I dislike what feels to me like no diversity in children's books, or rather the kinds of stories I was raised on 40 years ago. Likewise I don't like the lack of diversity in toys, movies...neither of my children fit the 'retail' norm. To me, this was not so much "An African American Version" as a just a book I loved to read and they loved to hear. There was a different word here or there than the version I seem to have memorized accidentally (no matter, I never could figure out what a sugar plum was anyway). I love it that the book is so big, makes the already wonderful illustrations more enjoyable and easier for my kids to see as they lay on either side of me when I read. The book focuses on The Night Before Christmas, not the night before Christmas in a black household, so I liked that too. And I was especially happy my daughter selected this book since she is biracial (again, if that matters), my son is also biracial and disabled, and I feel it is so easy to find non-minority books and toys and movies I love everyday finds like this book. Now if Walt Disney would be so kind as to give us an African American princess (for starters), I'd be much obliged.
I hope everything I said would compel anyone of any nationality to get this book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By F.P.M.S. on March 27, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I have NOT yet read this book, but I know what it is about, and why it was written. I have some advice for those who castigate this 'version' because of dialect, spelling, grammar, etc, etc: read (or, perhaps, try to read!) the original version of Uncle Remus, by Joel Chandler Harris. Several steps 'up' from Disney's "Song of The South" movie.... Tar Baby and all. BTW, Disney has never released that movie for home video, but it is available overseas, and in the states as a low-quality PAL-to-VHS conversion.
And in a more modern setting, after watching the movie "Precious", read the book on which it is based, "Push", by 'Sapphire'. If Harris had written the original "Night Before Christmas" tale instead of Clark Clement Moore, it would have come out just like Melodye Rosales' book which some of you are vociferously complaining about... and more like "Push", language-wise.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By K. M. Bundy on October 2, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I have been searching for a version of Twas the Night Before Christmas for my daughter that would have either a little black girl or black Santa and was so excited when I saw this title. However, looking at the sample pages I was not only disappointed but appalled to see the incorrect grammar. Why does an African-American version have to be grammatically incorrect? What a horrible message to send to children!!!
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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Mini Mouse on December 21, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I looked at the excerpt for this book. This is by far the worst version of this great classic story I have ever seen. I use the word seen because "I can't read it!", looks like someone threw some letters together and called them words. I am African-American, I read "English". I remember reading a version of this story with the orginal words to my son and I wanted him to be able to do the same with his son, only with illustrations that look like us African-Americans.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 10, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Exquisite illustrations bring vivid new life to this traditional holiday poem. Portraying an African-American family and Santa Claus, Melodye Rosales gives readers the gift of broadening their visions to include, "candy and sweet short'nin' bread." Old Saint Nick never looked so good nor acted so spry as he's "jumpin', an a-hoppin'--/doin' the pigeonwing." The expressions on the faces of the father and little baby convey the joy and suprise of a midnight Christmas visit from an avuncular and charming Santa. The perfect book for a Christmas present!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 20, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Finally! Too good to miss! I am a grade school librarian and I am always searching for books that speak to our children. I have ordered other titles by this author/illustrator and will be looking forward to more from Ms. Rosales.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By adrian sibert on August 31, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I had been searching for this book for years. As a preschool teacher, Cultural diversity is a must in the classroom. I shared this book with children and parents, it was a hit ! The pictures in this book are very eye catching and beautiful. The kids read it over and over. I cant say enough about this book. O, the price was great also
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