Day 1 of 12 Days of Guest Bloggers: Erin from

For the first 12 days of December, I’m hosting 12 different Guest Bloggers. I’m excited to have them each share their holiday/Christmas posts with us. Erin from has guest blogged here before. I’m excited to have her join me again!



The Night Before Christmas

Author:  Barbara Reid (Poem by Clement C. Moore)

Published by: North Winds Press (Imprint of Scholastic Canada)

Released: 2013

Ages: 2 – 8

From the Publisher:

“Barbara Reid reimagines everyone’s favorite Christmas poem in her own extraordinary style, featuring a lively cast of young creatures anticipating the most exciting night of the year! The classic poem is brought to life by her signature Plasticine illustrations, full of humor and astonishing detail, making this a Christmas treasure to read year after year.”


This is an amazingly illustrated (photos of Plasticine scenes) re-telling of the classic Clement C. Moore Christmas poem. It is intended for children, but the delightful story will be enjoyed by all ages due to the amusing antics of the mice – there is subtle humour here for all ages (who knew that some mice enjoy flipping through a book while using the washroom?).  fullsizerender_1It is the perfect story to use as a read-aloud for all ages of children in anticipation of the Christmas season, especially on Christmas Eve.  Barbara Reid is one of my favourite Canadian children’s authors – we have many of her board books and picture books – and my three kids LOVE exploring the detail of each illustration.  This one is no exception.  My children pour over and point out the many details of the captivating world of this mouse family who live in a hollow log in the forest.  The mice are eagerly preparing for Saint (mouse) Nicholas’ arrival and have hung their stockings by the chimney with care.  Watch the antics of this large mouse family as they experience the clatter of St. Nick’s arrival on this special night.  It is a celebration of the excitement and anticipation children feel in this Christmas season.  Not everything goes perfectly; a lot of humorous things happen – but all turns out well in the end and a large and loving family is together in celebration.

My Experience:

My three year old has already started asking to have me read this to them – I first introduced her to it last year, and it quickly became the favourite of the season.  She loved pointing out how the mice children are not completely adhering to the text of the poem by resisting bedtime and sneaking cookies.  fullsizerender_2The book is full of fun and sly humour.  We find new things to smile over and discover in each reading (we are already at about 20 for this season alone!). My 22 month-old twins are very detail oriented and each can spend huge amounts of time on each page pointing out things like dimes used as plates and bottle caps as a bowl.  They love that the reindeer are full sized, but St. Nick is a tiny mouse.  This is a wonderful way to get the whole family into the magic and excitement that surrounds Christmas!

Why/How Use it with kids:

  • explore the intricate drawings by creating a “seek and find” for each picture – you could try to find the same mouse across many of the pages, or have your child describe what each mouse is doing or thinking at that point in the story
  • have children identify the “big world objects” in each image (like dimes, thimbles, bottle caps) and explain what they are being used for. This is a great example of recycling!  What other objects could the mice take and use? This can lead to a great example of things around us that we can reuse for other purposes
  • have children pick another animal or creature and describe/create/draw the story from that perspective.  What a great time for a diorama or mini-book!  What other Christmas stories could be told from the perspective of tiny creatures?

    Handmade by: Artist Alice Helwig
    Handmade by: Artist Alice Helwig

About the Author:

Barbara Reid is married and has two daughters. She is the author and illustrator of more than a dozen picture books, and the illustrator of over twenty five. Barbara lives in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. When she is not busy writing or illustrating books, Barbara visits schools and libraries, where she is thrilled to meet young students and see the wonderful artwork they create. Each of Barbara’s distinctive and detailed illustrations starts off as a pencil drawing. Then she forms her drawing using Plasticine. She has received every major Canadian children’s book award and in 2013 she received two more outstanding honours: she was named to the Order of Canada and received the Vicky Metcalf Award for Literature for Young People.


Bio For Erin

Wife. Adoptive mom to toddler twins and a 3 year old. Career as a Teacher-Librarian temporarily on pause. Reads tons of books to the kids. Longs for two minutes alone in the bathroom. Lives for sloppy kisses. Figuring out life on the fly with laughs, friends, and grace!

I am a “mature” mom – jumped into this in my very late 30s and am now starting to explore my 40s ;-). My hubby is 7 years older, and we joke that our poor kids will have to keep explaining the two old grey-haired fogies at their graduations to all their classmates. Ah well, just think how wise we’ll be by then!

Book Reviews: As a Teacher-Librarian and AVID reader, one of my main filters for understanding the world is through books (in all formats).  At this stage, I use a lot of books to help my kids explore and understand the world, too.  I want to share what I’ve learned with you. As a former Senior Education Specialist, I have led resource review and selection for a major urban school board, was seconded to a provincial Department of Education as a Manager for Literacy, Numeracy & School Libraries, and have my Master’s degree in Information Literacy and Adult Education.  I’ve been a teacher for 18 years, a Teacher-Librarian for 14 years and am passionate about sharing my knowledge. I am a Director on the board of and do professional reviews for a children’s book review journal: Resource Links
Join me on the journey as I explore being a “mature” mom to multiples, toddlers, and adopted children through the lens of children’s books.  I’m learning a lot – the tables are turned on this teacher!

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