Every Christmas, when out of the closets came ornaments, holiday lights, and other decorations, my mother always placed a series of wooden animal cut-outs – a cow, a pig, a rooster, and few others – along the top of our fireplace mantle. What I remember most about the figures is that they miraculously fit together like a jigsaw puzzle. And each year, the challenge of fitting them all together was as fresh as if I'd never seen the puzzle before. It was one of those little family traditions that has always stayed with me, and it's in that spirit I made Can You See What I See? The Night Before Christmas, my search-and-find puzzle adaptation of Clement Clarke Moore's 1823 poem (originally titled, A Visit from Saint Nicholas). In the 10 years since my book was released, I've heard from families that it's unpacked along with the decorations each Christmas. Needless to say, I'm thrilled that it has become a part of a family tradition in some households.
In my adaptation, the story is illustrated with pictures inspired by phrases taken from Moore's poem. Search-and-find rhymes accompanying each picture prompt readers on a way-past-bedtime quest throughout a house decked out on a magical Christmas Eve. For readers who would like to follow the original story along with the pictures, the full text of the poem (above) is included on the inside cover of Can you See What I See? The Night Before Christmas.
Click the slide show above to see a few of the illustrations, accompanied by some behind-the-scene set-ups and the amazing team of talented artists that helped me make this book.
My book may now be 10 years old, but Moore's original poem has been delighting readers for almost two centuries, and my mother – to whom my book is dedicated – will be celebrating her 98th Christmas Eve this year.