22 November 2008

The Dinosaurs' Night Before Christmas

Many children are, at this exact moment, hard at work on the 1st or 2nd draft of their annual piece de resistance. Decisions of unquestioned importance are being weighed by bright-eyed youngsters everywhere - a blue or red scooter? or maybe, these days, the question is whether to request a lime green or violet iPod Nano? Meanwhile the jolly old elf himself is hastily visiting every strip mall in America (how does he do it?) all the while staying in constant contact with his toy-making team up North.

Inside a grand space on New York City's Upper West Side, a different gift-bearing creature is wrapping up his own Christmas preparations. Legend has it that each Christmas Eve night there's a dinosaur ball at the American Museum of Natural History. It's a prehistoric bash that climaxes with the appearance of Santasaurus and his dino-deer. Add to that tall tale a very lucky neighborhood boy and you have one of the finest Holiday books to be released in some time.

The Dinosaurs' Night Before Christmas, written by Anne Muecke and illustrated by Nathan Hale, takes the traditional and much more familiar T'was the Night Before Christmas theme and meter and overlays it with a fantastic original story of T-Rex's, Duckbills and their own sprig of mistletoe. The result is a superior, fun from start to finish volume perfect for the whole family, one that is destined to become a part of your family's holiday reading tradition. The Dinosaurs' Night Before Christmas will be appreciated by all but considered especially awesome by Dino-loving preschoolers and toddlers.

The book also comes with a 6-track CD featuring a warm-reading of the book by Al Roker and 5 hilarious dino-holiday songs (originally appearing on a Dinosaur Holiday, a 2005 disc released by Museum Music and available from AMNH). Lyrics to the songs serve as the appendix to the book itself, allowing you and your kids to sing along.

The dinosaurs here are as lovable, and dare I say cuddly, as cuddly as a two-ton giant lizard can be, as the dinosaurs in Jane Yolen's wildly popular, "How do Dinosaurs..." series. The Yolen books were the Bear's first introduction to dinos, and while she hasn't become attached to them the way some other kids her age have, she definitely enjoys them. This Christmas themed dinosaur story is a great addition and she took to it immediately. She can already belt out the refrain of "Hey Duckbills!" with ne'er a mistake, and found particular delight in using the word 'cranium'.

Check out video of The Dinosaurs' Night Before Christmas and hear Al Roker in action.

2 comments:

Nathan said...

Thanks for the FANTASTIC review, from the illustrator of this book!

Aimee said...

My little guy LOVES dinosaurs, so thanks for reviewing this book. I'm definitely going to have to get it for him!!