Cover image for 'Twas the night before Thanksgiving
'Twas the night before Thanksgiving
Pilkey, Dav, 1966-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Orchard Books, [1990]

Physical Description:
32 unnumbered pages : color illustrations ; 21 x 27 cm
School children on a field trip to Mack Nugget's farm save the lives of eight turkeys in this poem based on "The Night Before Christmas."
Reading Level:
NP Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 4.0 0.5 68884.

Reading Counts RC K-2 2.7 1 Quiz: 32635 Guided reading level: K.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Juvenile Fiction Holiday
PIC. BK. Juvenile Current Holiday Item Childrens Area-Holiday
PIC. BK. Juvenile Current Holiday Item Childrens Area-Holiday
PIC BK Juvenile Current Holiday Item Holiday
PIC.BK. Current Holiday Item Holiday
PIC BK Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
PIC.BK. Juvenile Current Holiday Item Holiday
PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Holiday
PIC.BK. Juvenile Current Holiday Item Picture Books

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School children on a field trip to Mack Nugget's farm save the lives of
eight turkeys in this poem based on "The Night Before Christmas."

Author Notes

Dav Pilkey was born on March 4th, 1966 in Cleveland, Ohio. His father was a steel salesman, and his mother was the organist at a local church.

In 1984, Pilkey attended Kent State University as an art major. One of Pilkey's freshman English professors complimented him on his creative writing skills, and encouraged him to write books, which launched him into his career. He found out about a contest for students who write and illustrate their own books, with the winners earning the prize of publication. Pilkey began creating his first book, "World War Won," and entered it in The National Written and Illustrated By...Awards Contest for Students. Pilkey won the contest and flew to Kansas City, Missouri to meet the editors and publishers at Landmark Editions, Inc.

Soon after the publication of World War Won, Dav moved back to Kent, Ohio where he had gone to college. In 1997, Pilkey won the Caldecott Honor for his book "The Paperboy" but is perhaps better known for his "Captain Underpants" series, which he had created while still in elementary school. His title Super Diaper Baby 2: The Invasion of the Potty Snatchers made Publisher's Weekly best seller list for 2011. His title's, The Adventures of Captain Underpants and Dog Man Unleashed, made The New York Times Best Seller List.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Ages 5-7. As you might guess from the title, this is a takeoff on Moore's "The Night before Christmas." Pilkey takes that holiday staple and recasts it as a Thanksgiving tale about a busload of schoolchildren who feel sorry for a friendly batch of turkeys and save them from the farmer's ax. What might surprise you is that this wacky recasting really is funny. "And then in a twinkling / They heard in the straw / The prancing and pawing / Of each little claw. / More rapid than chickens / His cockerels they came. / He whistled and shouted / And called them by name: / `Now Ollie, now Stanley, now Larry and Moe, / On Wally, on Beaver, on Shemp and Groucho!'" The robust, cartoon- style art has van Goghesque sky vistas popping up from time to time and a manic energy that spills off the page. Loud and brassy on the surface, this also has an underlying softness that will appeal to kids. --Denise Wilms

Publisher's Weekly Review

Patterned as a parody of the celebrated Clement Moore poem, this story of eight baby turkeys unfolds with joyous abandon and crackling vitality, as eight children embark on a Thanksgiving field trip that will change their lives forever. They are breathless as they catch sight of Farmer Mack Nuggett for the first time: ``He was dressed all in denim, / From his head to his toe, / With a pinch of polyester / And a dash of Velcro.'' The exuberant turkeys--Ollie, Stanley, Larry, Moe, Wally, Beaver and Groucho--catch the children up in raucous barnyard antics until the merriment is quelled by the sight of the ax. Deeply touched by the turkeys' plight, the children--who have grown mysteriously fatter and have feathers sticking out from under their clothes--board the bus to go back to the city. The next night, family silhouettes can be seen--each with a grateful turkey guest--as ``They feasted on veggies / With jelly and toast.'' This humorous, lighthearted story is adorned with bold, bright illustrations that convey a sense of wacky high-spiritedness sometimes lacking in traditional holiday fare. Ages 4-7. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Pilkey has adapted Clement Moore's classic poem for another holiday. The day before Thanksgiving finds eight boys and girls of various races taking a field trip to a turkey farm. Although Farmer Mack Nuggett seems kind at first, the children eventually discover his horrible plan to kill the turkeys for Thanksgiving dinners. Smuggling the turkeys home with them, the children save the birds, who join eight families for vegetarian dinners. The weakest part of this slapstick offering is the verse, in part because the story isn't at all parallel to Moore's and in part because of the stretches in rhyme to accommodate a pre-existing pattern. Some of the word play will escape children. Similarly, visual humor such as the placement of Farmer Nuggett and the teacher in an ``American Gothic'' pose will remain unappreciated by those too young for Grant Wood. The cartoon illustrations reinforce the story's general silliness but are unremarkable in themselves. Those seeking Thanksgiving humor will better served by Marc Brown's Arthur's Thanksgiving (Little, 1983), while those looking for a human-turkey relationship should dust off Lorna Balian's Sometimes It's Turkey, Sometimes It's Feathers (Abingdon, 1986). --Kathy Piehl, Mankato State University, MN (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.