Reviews for Twas the night before Christmas on the farm

Kirkus
Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

A visit from St. Nicholas with a trip to the barnyard, too. In their cadence, rhyme scheme, and word choices, Manning’s adapted verses borrow liberally from the original poem credited to Clement C. Moore (and sometimes to Henry Livingston). Occasional word choices can read like missteps rather than innovations, however; the original poem’s “wondering eyes” are recast as “wandering eyes,” for example. Instead of using the poem’s original first-person narrator, this version employs the omniscient third to introduce a little lamb who awakens and observes Santa Claus’ sleigh landing on the farmhouse roof. No one joins her in her observations, but readers are invited to do so as she tries to figure out what’s happening in the full-bleed, rather flat art that seems like something from an animation studio. Eventually, it’s not what the lamb sees but what she hears that moves her from befuddlement to understanding, when Santa (who appears White) laughs “Ho, ho, ho.” As she watches him place presents under the tree in the house, she hopes he’ll have gifts for her, too. He does, of course, and the illustrations show the fruits, veggies, and other animal-friendly treats he puts into their stockings before leaving the little lamb to settle in again to sleep away the rest of Christmas Eve. It’s all sweet but hardly novel. This revisitation of familiar holiday fare doesn’t stand out. (Picture book. 2-5) Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Kirkus
Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

A visit from St. Nicholas with a trip to the barnyard, too. In their cadence, rhyme scheme, and word choices, Mannings adapted verses borrow liberally from the original poem credited to Clement C. Moore (and sometimes to Henry Livingston). Occasional word choices can read like missteps rather than innovations, however; the original poems wondering eyes are recast as wandering eyes, for example. Instead of using the poems original first-person narrator, this version employs the omniscient third to introduce a little lamb who awakens and observes Santa Claus sleigh landing on the farmhouse roof. No one joins her in her observations, but readers are invited to do so as she tries to figure out whats happening in the full-bleed, rather flat art that seems like something from an animation studio. Eventually, its not what the lamb sees but what she hears that moves her from befuddlement to understanding, when Santa (who appears White) laughs Ho, ho, ho. As she watches him place presents under the tree in the house, she hopes hell have gifts for her, too. He does, of course, and the illustrations show the fruits, veggies, and other animal-friendly treats he puts into their stockings before leaving the little lamb to settle in again to sleep away the rest of Christmas Eve. Its all sweet but hardly novel.This revisitation of familiar holiday fare doesnt stand out. (Picture book. 2-5) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Publishers Weekly
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Manning flavors Clement C. Moore’s Christmas chestnut with barnyard imagery, recasting the poem from a curious lamb’s point of view. As Santa’s sleigh approaches, “ ‘It’s a bird!’ the lamb thought, for what else could fly?/ She’d never seen something else soar through the sky.” She remains confused, comparing the man with the round belly, tractorlike sleigh, and horned “horses” to a farmer until she hears him say “ho, ho, ho.” If the lamb’s realization feels sudden, Collina’s digital artwork—featuring sweetly snoozing animals, each with their own fittingly filled stocking—has a snow-filled, fantasy-flavored sheen that helps give this new variation a bit of the original’s timeless feel. Ages 4–7. (Sept.)

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