The Night Before Christmas: A Brick Story
Written by Clement C. Moore
Illustrated by Amanda Brack
Sky Pony Press 10/06/2015
32 pages Ages 4—8
“’Twas the night before
Christmas, when all
through the house,
Not a creature was
stirring, not even a
“You and your family can now share Clement C. Moore’s magical holiday poem illustrated in a child’s favorite toy! Spot the colorful stockings hung by the chimney in the fanciful brick house, and look on at the visions of dancing brick sugarplums. Turn the pages to reveal St. Nicholas with his bundle of toys and is eight trusty reindeer, and watch as he magically slides down the chimney to brick presents to the good little girls and boys before shouting, “Now dash away, dash away, dash away all!” [inside jacket]
Written by the iconic author Clement C. Moore, there is not much I can add to the criticism of The Night before Christmas, also known as A Visit from St. Nicholas. Moore’s story has been translated, rewritten, and used in many different ways. This edition, subtitled A Brick Story, leaves the famous text untouched. What is unique, and I am sure a first, are the illustrations. Each spread is a photograph of a scene, and the scene is made up of an iconic toy: Legos®
Kids who love Legos® will enjoy A Brick Story. Their imagination will be sparked by Brack’s Lego® work, especially that of her organically construction reindeer. Boys especially will be drawn to this book. Santa and his reindeer are all Legos®, as are the houses below. Santa lands on one particular roof, slides down the chimney with his bulging bag of gifts, and finds he is not alone. More importantly, Santa finds himself in a Lego® living room with a Lego® Christmas tree decked out in red and yellow lights, and with a few presents under the tree, waiting for him to finish bringing the gifts for Christmas. This is extremely creative and quite lovely.
The Lego animation is creative and more realistic than I imagined it could be. The first spread shows a panoramic view of the living room, complete with a Christmas tree decked out with red and yellow lights and a star resting at the top. Underneath are presents of assorted sizes and shapes. A chimney holds the only non-Lego items in the room: stockings made of fabric hang from the mantle. You can peer out a window and see the starry night. While you wait for Santa, you can sit down on a Lego sofa.
But for Santa to arrive, everyone must be “nestled all snug in their beds.” We see the children’s bedroom with two twin beds holding the sleeping children. Toys are scattered about the room. Mom and Dad are also in bed asleep in a double bed. Their room has a dresser with a mirror, wall décor, and a nightstand that looks like it might also be a dog kennel. Everything is made from Legos®. Even the carpet is made of Legos®.
A clatter outside awakes Dad, who goes to the window to investigate. The outdoor scene is of a neighborhood of houses with backyards, garages, and chimneys awaiting their special night-time guest. A couple of dogs are outside exploring the various Lego® trees. In the air is a sleigh pulled by eight tiny reindeer coming in for a smooth landing. Orchestrating this graceful landing is a man covered in red from head-to-toe. The scene is truly magical.
Indoors, Santa has slid down the chimney with his bundle of gifts. I believe Lego has many special designs, like Santa, his bag of toys, and a clock face, which many of these scenes use, though the regular building blocks make the most exciting features, such as the reindeer. Santa does not have a “nose like a cherry,” but he does hold a pipe firmly between his teeth and smoke rises in twists above his head. Soon, Santa has finished, climbs up the chimney, and flies off to the next house.
Setting up these scenes and then photographing them had to have taken hours of patience and skill with Legos®. Brack and her bricks made the magic of Moore’s poem come to life. Her creations are imaginative and often quite detailed. On a few spreads the reindeers are out-of-focus, due to various camera factors. Brack took some very good photographs, but no matter her skill, a photograph will never do Amanda Brack’s creative Lego® work justice. This is an in person experience. A video spanning the scenes would have been an absolutely fantastic trailer.
THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS: A BRICK STORY. Text copyright © 1837 by Clement C. Moore. Illustrations copyright © 2015 by Amanda Brack. Reproduced by permission of the Sky Pony Press, New York, NY.
Find The Night before Christmas: A Brick Story on Goodreads HERE.
Meet the author, Clement C. Moore, at a bio: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/clement-clarke-moore
Meet the illustrator, Amanda Brack, at her website: http://amandabrackillustration.com/
Find more books at the Sky Pony Press website: http://www.skyponypress.com/
. . Sky Pony Press is an imprint of Sky Horse Publishing
Also by Amanda Brack
Copyright © 2015 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved
Full Disclosure: The Night Before Christmas: A Brick Story by Clement C. Moore & Amanda Brack, and received from Sky Pony Press, (an imprint of Sky Horse Publishing), is in exchange NOT for a positive review, but for an HONEST review. The opinions expressed are my own and no one else’s. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS: A BRICK STORY by Clement C. Moore. Illustrations © 2015 by Amanda Brack. Used by permission of Sky Pony Press.
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