Story last updated at 11/25/2008 - 4:35 pm
"Alaskan Night Before Christmas," by Tricia Brown and illustrated by Alan Stacy. Pelican Publishing, 2008. 32 pp, $15.95, hardcover.
For those who can recite "The Night Before Christmas" from memory, there's a new story in verse to read this year. "Alaskan Night Before Christmas," by Tricia Brown, tells the story the original version left out.
We meet Santa and his elves in North Pole, Alaska, working under northern lights - and bright white spotlights. Santa is a rugged Alaskan like any other, and he knows how to outfit his "rig" for the weather.
"Talk about cold! Near forty below!
But jolly old Santa could go with the flow.
He'd plugged in the sled, changed out the used oil
Had the ice scraper packed, grill covered with foil."
And this notion of eight tiny reindeer must go.
Santa uses eight mighty caribou, named for Alaskan towns and villages like Kvichak and Nuiqsut. Even Santa has trouble pronouncing their names, and a pronunciation key is provided in the back of the book. So it's understandable that outside of Alaska, the names were changed to things like Dancer and Dasher.
One caribou named Kotzebue (Kotz for short) is fed up with the widespread Rudolph stories and resolves to tell his story and achieve long overdue fame.
"Now this certain year, vain Kotzebue yearned
To fix unclear thinking where deer were concerned.
Kotz wanted that glory; he wanted the fame.
He wanted a carol that featured his name."
But in the process of his quest for glory, Kotz loses sight of what Christmas is all about and gets his team in trouble. A reindeer may be needed to save the day after all!
Tricia Brown, a former Alaska resident now living in Oregon, has crafted a strong story in neat rhyming couplets. Full-color illustrations by Alan Stacy depict a very expressive team of caribou.
"Alaskan Night Before Christmas" is a fun addition to classic Christmas stories, especially for Alaskan families. Even Gov. Sarah Palin has given the book her seal of approval.
- Katie Spielberger