Sunday, December 14, 2008

And the Winner Is . . .

Corinne Malvern! HTML clipboard

Children in my Early Kindergarten class participated in the Hogarth School's 7th annual Vote for The Night Before Christmas. I read three different versions of Clement C. Moore's poem The Night Before Christmas illustrated by three different artists -- Corinne Malvern, Cheryl Harness and Jan Brett.

Malvern was the winner with 7 votes, Harness came in second with 3 votes, and Brett came in last with 2 votes.

Corinne Malvern tied to win one year, and flat-out won the other 6 "elections." I love this curriculum unit, and am intrigued that Malvern wins year after year. Although her version was originally published smack in the middle (almost) of the 20th century in 1949, those very traditional renderings of Santa and his reindeer still hold enormous appeal for a 21st century audience.

I found it interesting that my 11 and 13-year old nieces (who lost power during the ice storm and whose family is staying with me for the duration) were appalled that Jan Brett was not the clear winner. In fact, Brett's illustrations have come in last 6 out of 7 elections.

My nieces are fantastic artists, and Margaret (the 11-year old) is an aspiring illustrator. We talked about what Brett's problem might be (at least with the preschool set) and determined that you could never put a red nose on a Brett reindeer. We think it's as simple as that. Kids just can't fit a realistic-looking reindeer into their existing reindeer schemata. I think Brett has the same problem with her Santa. That guy would never live at the North Pole. Which is kind of what New England is feeling like these days.

NOTE: Here in New England we're experiencing the fallout from a beautiful but powerful ice storm. Hundreds of thousands of homes are still without power three days after the storm, including those of several of the Write Sisters. It's sister Janet's week to blog, but until she's up and running, you'll see her power-filled sisters pinch hit for her.

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