Night Before [1988]

Clement C. Moore's beloved poem "'Twas the night before Christmas when all through the house not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse..." is brought to animated life through the inimitable illustrations of Mary Engelbreit in this holiday film inspired by her bestselling book. Not all is tranquil when viewers learn that, indeed, a mouse is stirring in the house and is actually quite agitated. Gregory, an earnest rodent, has just overheard the chilling news that Christmas might not come at all because of a spell cast on Santa by a naughty fairy named Implestik. And so, between stanzas 8 and 9 of Moore's familiar verse, Gregory launches off on his own adventure into the enchanted wood to find the Fairy Queen who can break Implestik's bitter spell. Along the way, this mouse-on-a-mission meets heartening heroes--an insightful older mouse named Augustus, a wise owl, and a sprightly young fairy--who guide Gregory's footsteps. This charming tale blends classic and contemporary, adding the winning component of Engelbreit's recognizable drawings. Her work, once narrowly coined "a vast empire of cuteness," is the perfect ingredient for Christmas cheer, infused with spirited wit and nostalgic warmth. (Ages 3 and older) --Lynn Gibson

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