Books: The Cheapest Vacation You Can Buy

16250926From Goodreads: In this beloved picture book that could only come from the visionary mind of author and illustrator TIM BURTON, we meet Jack Skellington– a well-intentioned inhabitant of Halloweenland. Jack is bored of “the scaring, the terror, the fright….tired of being something that goes bump in the night.” And so, in an effort to bring to joy to his town, Jack kidnaps Santa and takes his place as the jolly old elf. But instead of bringing joy to the world, Jack, who is a little more than a grinning skeleton, brings fear by delivering creepy toys and riding a sleigh carried by skeletal reindeer. Only through a number of things going horribly wrong does Jack learn the true meaning of Christmas.


This is the original poem and artwork that Tim Burton created twenty years ago for his children before it was even a movie concept, modeling his poem after the iconic “Twas the Night Before Christmas” by Clement Clarke Moore.  With its clever rhymes and beautiful illustrations, Burton captures readers attentions from the very first page, especially as we meet Jack Skellington and hear of his ghoulish antics. It is a beautiful storybook from which stemmed the equally stunning movie, fleshing out the characters and even adding some, such as Jack’s love interest Sally, who does not show up in this original story.

I originally purchased this storybook for a class activity I was doing with my seniors the day before Christmas break.  I was in Barnes and Noble looking for Christmas themed stories when I stumbled upon it, and I am so glad I did.  This storybook, and Jack’s character, lends itself nicely to a psychological literary analysis, and as I read The Nightmare Before Christmas aloud to my students, they analyzed the persona of Jack.  It was a great activity, and students thoroughly enjoyed it because they were already aware of the character having seen the movie, but none knew it was originally a poem (neither did I, truth be told).  I was highly impressed with the final analysis my students created of Jack and his mid-life crisis, and all in all, the lesson was a success.  But even if you aren’t using this storybook to teach a lesson, it’s a great storybook to have on hand at the holidays.  It’s gorgeous and great fun to read.  Four stars.

4 stars

 I purchased a hardcover of this storybook from Barnes and Noble.

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