Not Last Night But the Night Before

Not Last Night But the Night Before

by Colin McNaughton, Emma Chichester Clark
     
 

A little boy’s unexpected guests look oddly familiar in this fanciful ode to birthdays — and big imaginations.

NOT LAST NIGHT BUT THE NIGHT BEFORE,
THREE BLACK CATS CAME KNOCKING AT THE DOOR.

And before you know it, the man in the moon is knocking, followed by three little pigs, Little Bo-peep, Miss Muffet, and many more visitors, all in a

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Overview

A little boy’s unexpected guests look oddly familiar in this fanciful ode to birthdays — and big imaginations.

NOT LAST NIGHT BUT THE NIGHT BEFORE,
THREE BLACK CATS CAME KNOCKING AT THE DOOR.

And before you know it, the man in the moon is knocking, followed by three little pigs, Little Bo-peep, Miss Muffet, and many more visitors, all in a rush. But where are they going so willy-nilly, gifts in hand? Colin McNaughton’s energetic rhymes, whimsically illustrated by Emma Chichester Clark, transform one child’s quiet night into a celebration full of beloved fairy-tale characters.

Editorial Reviews

Daniel Handler
The effortless rhymes…maintain a manic tone, as do Emma Chichester Clark's pencil and acrylic drawings…the book is a roaring good time rather than a quiet night in; fun for the whole family, except whoever has to clean up.
—The New York Times
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
"Not last night but the night before," our young narrator tells us in rhymed couplets, a series of characters comes knocking at his door. Three black cats knock him over and run past, wrapped package in hand with ribbons streaming. The man in the moon comes next carrying what seems to be a present and trailing stars. They are followed by a series of nursery rhyme characters and their friends, from three little pigs, Little Bo-Peep, Little Miss Muffet, Jack and Jill, three blind mice, Goldilocks, and Mr. Punch, all with associated characters and all with packages. When the knocking stops, a glass is tapped, and all begin to sing a zany variety of the happy birthday song. Then our happy hero goes to sleep at last, presents strewn all over his floor. Clark visualizes this wild series of events, with a page for each of the knocking guests, in framed illustrations, and the next page for the dashing entry. At first, our hero tries to protect himself, but soon becomes part of the rushing chaos. Pencil and acrylic paints define charming detailed characters that are fully fleshed and raring to go. The final double page shows all the characters crowded together preparing to sing for the obviously delighted youngster. There is also fun in identifying the familiar characters. Do not miss the end pages and the final vignette of the late arrivals. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 1—Rhyming, repetitive text tells of a boy who reluctantly welcomes a parade of nursery-rhyme characters into his home. Everyone from the man in the moon to Little Miss Muffet bursts through the entryway wearing party clothes and carrying presents. Punch and Judy are nearly the last to show. To the little boy's surprise, they all begin to sing: "Happy Birthday to you,/Squashed tomatoes and stew,/Bread and butter in the gutter,/Happy birthday to you!" Colorful pencil and acrylic illustrations alternate between scallop-edged vignettes and full-bleed scenes rife with excitement. Preschoolers will enjoy the predictability of this tale, even if they don't recognize every character.—Lisa Glasscock, Columbine Public Library, Littleton, CO
Kirkus Reviews
The old jump-rope rhyme about 24 robbers knocking on the door is revised using fairy-tale characters instead of robbers as the visitors. The first-person narrator is a little boy who answers the Dutch door at his house to admit the characters, with each group carrying a wrapped present. The visitors include well-known fairy-tale friends such as Goldilocks and the Three Bears and Jack and Jill, along with three mysterious, black cats and the Man in the Moon. This book was first published in England, so the traditional characters of Punch, Judy, their baby and Crocodile also appear, which will require some explanation for American readers. A slapstick, "he's a jolly good fellow" atmosphere prevails, with the whole cast of characters singing a birthday greeting to the boy as a surprise conclusion. Chichester Clark's comical watercolor illustrations are filled with patterned costumes, flowers, balloons and amusing action as the fairy-tale characters trip over themselves to get to the party on time. The little boy may be repeatedly knocked down by the guests, but that doesn't get in the way of his fun. (Picture book. 3-6)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780763644208
Publisher:
Candlewick Press
Publication date:
10/13/2009
Pages:
32
Product dimensions:
11.00(w) x 9.30(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Colin McNaughton is the creator of more than seventy books for children, including DRACULA'S TOMB and THE ALIENS ARE COMING! He lives in London.

Emma Chichester Clark has written and illustrated many books for young readers, including the Blue Kangaroo stories. She lives in London.

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