Thursday, October 27, 2022

Christmas from Candlewick Press: "'Twas the Night Before Christmas," "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening," & "A Very Mercy Christmas" [Review & Giveaway USA/CANADA]

'Twas the Night Before Christmas by Samuel Clement & illustrated by Matt Tavares ISBN: 9781536217995

My thoughts:
Many renditions of 'Twas the Night Before Christmas have graced homes and libraries since the poem's first publication. The cadence. The rhyme. The story of jolly Santa. The magic of it all has captured the heart and mind of young and old alike. Of course, it is all just a story, just nonsense, just a tradition but even so, it is also fun.

The illustrations by Matt Tavares in this edition are evocative of books of "yesteryear" and capture a feeling of the "warm-fuzzies" deep in our hearts. I love the black and white drawings reminiscent of books of old. I love how the richness of the Christmas season is captured.

If you love the poem, you probably want this copy for your collection.

About the book: Exquisitely detailed drawings by Matt Tavares embody the spirit of a magical night in a lavish, full-size gift edition marking the two-hundredth anniversary of the classic poem.

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
in hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there.

Once upon a time, children imagined St. Nicholas as a stern, skinny bishop who was as likely to dole out discipline as Christmas presents. But thanks to the poem “Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas”—written by Clement C. Moore in 1822 and published the next year in the Troy Sentinel—a plumper, merrier St. Nick was born, transformed into the sleigh-riding, chimney-diving jolly old elf we now call Santa Claus. With gorgeous monochrome illustrations by Matt Tavares that are meticulously true to pre-Victorian times, ’Twas the Night Before Christmas Or Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas honors the poem’s original language in a definitive keepsake volume.

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost & illustrated by P.J. Lynch  ISBN: 9781536229141

My thoughts:  Everyone needs a bit of Robert Frost in his or her life. I love his attitude on "free verse" and prefer nice rhyming verse with lovely cadence.

P.J. Lynch's illustrations are breathtakingly lovely. They depict the failing light as evening encroaches and one is journeying down a lonely road on a snowy evening. It is dark. It is cold. It is lonely. The traveler contemplates where he is and whose woods he is traversing.

This is a beautiful book and a wonderful way to introduce one of America's great poets to children.

About the book: Just in time for its centennial, Robert Frost's cherished poem is showcased in a beautiful keepsake edition illustrated by the award-winning P.J. Lynch.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
Whether memorized by schoolchildren or used to eulogize a president, “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening,” written in 1922 and published in 1923, has found a place as one of the best-loved and best-known American poems of the last hundred years. Now, six decades after the passing of its author, Robert Frost, celebrated artist P.J. Lynch brings this classic to new life with exquisitely detailed illustrations, evoking its iconic moments and wintry setting on the outskirts of a small village. 

About Robert Frost: Flinty, moody, plainspoken and deep, Robert Frost was one of America's most popular 20th-century poets. Frost was farming in Derry, New Hampshire when, at the age of 38, he sold the farm, uprooted his family and moved to England, where he devoted himself to his poetry. His first two books of verse, A Boy's Will (1913) and North of Boston (1914), were immediate successes. In 1915 he returned to the United States and continued to write while living in New Hampshire and then Vermont. His pastoral images of apple trees and stone fences -- along with his solitary, man-of-few-words poetic voice -- helped define the modern image of rural New England. Frost's poems include "Mending Wall" ("Good fences make good neighbors"), "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" ("Whose woods these are I think I know"), and perhaps his most famous work, "The Road Not Taken" ("Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-- / I took the one less traveled by"). Frost was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for poetry four times: in 1924, 1931, 1937 and 1943. He also served as "Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress" from 1958-59; that position was renamed as Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry (or simply Poet Laureate) in 1986.

Frost recited his poem "The Gift Outright" at the 1961 inauguration of John F. Kennedy... Frost attended both Dartmouth College and Harvard, but did not graduate from either school... Frost preferred traditional rhyme and meter in poetry; his famous dismissal of free verse was, "I'd just as soon play tennis with the net down."

A Very Mercy Christmas (Hardback) by Kate DiCamillo & illustrated by Chris Van Dusen ISBN: 9781536213607

My thoughts: 
Delightful Mercy pig and enthusiastic Stella Endicott set out to bring a bit of joy to the Christmas season by trying to garner interest in forming a Christmas caroling group from the neighborhood.

Sadly, she is met with rudeness, busy people, uncooperative folks. 

So she seeks other help. 

A sweet joyful book the littles in your clan will enjoy.

About the book: For fans of Mercy Watson, old and new, comes a joyful crescendo of favorite characters in a picture-book celebration of the quiet miracles the holidays bring. Mercy ornament included!

Stella Endicott felt joyful. She felt like something miraculous might happen. She wanted to sing.

When Stella gets the sudden idea to go caroling, she has a little trouble getting someone to join her. Her brother, Frank, is not good at spontaneity. The Watsons are very involved in a precarious fruitcake attempt (but happy to send their pig, Mercy, out for the occasion). Eugenia Lincoln declines, a bit rudely, to accompany on her accordion, and Horace Broom is too busy studying planetary movement. Will Stella need to sing by herself—with enthusiastic contributions from the pig, the cat, and the horse she picks up on the way? Or does the evening hold a miracle Stella hadn’t expected? With tender affection for Mercy Watson and all her Deckawoo Drive friends, Kate DiCamillo and Chris Van Dusen offer a picture-book homage to the season that is perfectly suited for family sharing—perhaps with some cups of hot cocoa and a stack of well-buttered toast. 

Begins October 27
Ends November 21 @ 12:01 a.m. ET
Open to USA & CANADA addresses
NO P.O. Boxes, please
Phone required for Canadian winners.
DISCLOSURE: I received complimentary copies to facilitate a review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given. Winner's prize is provided and shipped directly to the winner by publisher or publicist. Chat With Vera is not responsible for lost or misdirected prizes.


  1. I like How The Grinch Stole Christmas.

  2. Twas The Night Before Christmas

  3. My favorite Christmas story is the Nativity story. I also like The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry.

    allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

  4. I like the Christmas story The Little Match Girl.

  5. Twas the Night before Christmas

  6. What is your favorite Christmas story? Its has been so long since I thought of this.......................... Santa Claus is coming to town THERE ARE SO MANY

  7. The Christmas Day Kitten

  8. I love How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

  9. My favorite is The Cajun Night Before Christmas.


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