The ingenious Robert Sabuda returns for yet another inspired pop-up book, a follow-up to The 12 Days of Christmas and The Christmas Alphabet, that retells Clement Clarke Moore's classic yuletide rhyme.
Sabuda remains a master of the medium, constructing a series of varied and well-engineered scenes: Santa pops in and out of the chimney, beds fold out, a window shade rises and falls, and, in a clever nod to Moore's not-a-creature-was-stirring text, it's a family of mice who are receiving Santa's nighttime visit. A pull-out tab even lets readers interact, when Santa's sleigh glides out on the clouds and over an intricately realized village. It's hard to pick a favorite scene here, but you can bet that kids will love the book's pop de résistance, in which Santa's lead reindeer nearly fly right up your nose (if they don't knock you out of your chair first).
The book's first-rate production and lively pop-ups are enough to recommend it, but Sabuda goes one better by showing the thoughtful restraint to make most of the pop-ups almost entirely white. A few accents of color catch your eye (Santa's red suit and silver pipe), but--as befits such a dynamic book--the visual focus stays on the action. (All ages) --Paul Hughes