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Story by Anne L. Watson
Pictures by Wendy Edelson

“’Twas the night before Christmas,
When all through the house
Not a creature was stirring,
Not even a mouse.”

Everyone knows these lines from Clement Clarke Moore’s classic poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas” or “The Night Before Christmas.” But how many know why all those mice were already in bed, or what they were up to before that?

Here at last is a companion poem to reveal all: The holiday hustle and bustle in the mouse house since early that morning. The evening party for all the mouse friends and relations, with presents, feasting, and dancing. And to top it all off, a visit from Santa Mouse himself!

Never before told, this mice-eye story is sure to find a place in your heart beside the original classic.

For ages 4 to 9.

Anne L. Watson is the author/illustrator of Katie Mouse and the Perfect Wedding, Katie Mouse and the Christmas Door, The Secret of Gingerbread Village, and other children’s books, as well as the author of numerous craft books and novels for adults. She lives in Bellingham, Washington, with her husband and fellow author, Aaron Shepard.

Wendy Edelson is the award-winning illustrator of The Baker’s Dozen, Quackling, Christmas Truce, Which Shoes Do You Choose?, and many more children’s books. She has applied her talent to a wide range of illustration projects, including picture books, pet portraits, posters, and puzzles. Among her clients have been Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo, the Seattle Aquarium, Pacific Northwest Ballet, the U.S. Postal Service, Cricket Magazine, McGraw-Hill Education, and the American Library Association.


You’re welcome to download a free digital copy of this book, if you’re willing to write a review on your favorite online retailer—or anywhere else—or even just want to evaluate the book for your own purchase. Your posted review can be positive or negative—really, say just what you think, good or bad! If you’re posting on Amazon, though, they want you to include a statement like, “I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.”

Also welcome to download it are educators, librarians, booksellers, rights buyers, or anyone else needing to evaluate it professionally.

To download now, just hit the link below. No personal info or approval is required. And please feel free to share this offer with others.

The Mice Before Christmas ARC
(PDF, 9 MB)

Skyhook Press

Ebook ~ 2021

Paperback (Christmas Gift Edition) ~ 2021

Hardcover (Christmas Gift Edition) ~ 2021

The following links may earn commissions for this site.

Book cover: The Mice Before Christmas


Reviewer comments from NetGalley and more.


“Sure to be a classic.” ~ “Going to become a classic.” ~ “An instant Christmas classic!” ~ “A new children’s classic.” ~ “A classic in its own right.” ~ “Could easily become a new classic.”


“Sure to be added to our family favorites.” ~ “An instant hit at my house!” ~ “This gem is destined to become a beloved holiday favorite!” ~ “The children have requested to hear it several times, and it is not even Christmas.” ~ “Santa Mouse was a huge hit.” ~ “Sure to become a holiday favorite.”


“Will become a cherished family tradition.” ~ “Will be a staple at our house for many more Christmas holidays.” ~ “A book to be brought out on Christmas Eve, year after year.” ~ “The perfect book to read in the run-up to Christmas.” ~ “Will surely be added to our must-read books for the holiday season.” ~ “A book to crack open with much pleasure for many a Yuletide to come.” ~ “A story all children will want their parents to read to them every holiday season.” ~ “Would be especially good for things like the ‘25 Days of Christmas Reading.’” ~ “A joy you will look forward to, every Christmas season.”


“I cannot wait to give this to all my friends with children of all ages as a gift this year.” ~ “A beautiful gift for anyone at Christmastime.” ~ “I have immediately ordered three copies.” ~ “If you are giving gifts to children this year, BUY THIS BOOK!” ~ “Would be happy to give this book as a gift to any young family.” ~ “I plan to buy a copy for my friends with kids and for the little lending library I have.” ~ “In hindsight, I wish I had pre-ordered more than one copy.” ~ “Will be purchasing more copies for friends and family.” ~ “Definitely a good choice to get for a younger child to open and read on Christmas Eve.”


“If you read this to a child, they will absolutely love it.” ~ “Can’t wait to read this to my grandchildren!” ~ “Such a perfect bedtime Christmas story!” ~ “This will be read to the youngster with an eye to the child reading it aloud to us later.” ~ “A fun read-aloud bedtime story.” ~ “As much fun for adults to read aloud as it is for children to hear.” ~ “Will enjoy snuggling with my grands and reading this mouse story on Christmas Eve.” ~ “Perfect for reading at Christmastime or any time.” ~ “I will be sure to share this one with all my students for the holidays.”


“Everyone, young and old, will enjoy this book.” ~ “The kids loved it AND the adults loved it.” ~ “Kids both young and older would find this enjoyable.” ~ “I really don’t think there is an age group that won’t love this. Even my grumpy old neighbour smiled.” ~ “This enchanting book is a must-have to be enjoyed by adults and children alike.” ~ “I highly recommend this book for all ages.” ~ “For young and old alike, this is a treat!” ~ “It’s sure to enchant children (and mouse lovers) of all ages!” ~ “Highly recommended to be read to younger children or to read with older children.”


“The story was sweet and the rhyming was perfect.” ~ “The text reads beautifully—nice and smooth, with a meter reminiscent of Moore’s poem.” ~ “The rhyming is superbly done!” ~ “The rhyming style makes it a quick, fun read.” ~ “The writing is wonderfully poetic and sweet. The whole story is charming.” ~ “The story and writing were executed perfectly.” ~ “Truly engaging story.” ~ “The story is very imaginative, positive, and fun.” ~ “The poem is entrancing and engaging.”


“I review a lot of children’s books, and this has the most vividly colorful and highly detailed illustrations I’ve seen.” ~ “The illustrations are beyond perfect. I can’t believe all the amazing details.” ~ “The wonderful detailed illustrations are exquisite, reminiscent of illustrations in books I loved as a child.” ~ “There is so much going on in the pictures, you’re sure to find something new every time.” ~ “The illustrations were absolutely amazing. They were full of detail that we pored over, laughed at, and talked about.” ~ “The beautiful artwork grabbed my children’s attention and kept them exploring the details on every page.” ~ “You can spend ages just looking at one picture.” ~ “The art style was classic and timeless.” ~ “I’d be more than happy to have any one of the illustrations hanging on my wall—but I don’t know how I’d choose, because they are all so wonderful!”


“Will give you a warm Christmas glow.” ~ “Takes me back to my childhood and the magic of Christmas.” ~ “Everything I would want in a holiday story.” ~ “All it needs is warm gingerbread or soft molasses cookies to accompany the story.” ~ “Pure Christmas joy.” ~ “Captures the essence of what makes Christmas so special.” ~ “Oh my goodness, this is absolutely the sweetest most adorable little Christmas book!” ~ “Certainly has me feeling festive, even in the middle of October!” ~ “I read through the book several times, just feeling I should put up my Christmas tree and make hot cocoa.”


“A brilliant addition to ‘The Night Before Christmas.’ It’s fun and creative, and the story just fits.” ~ “A sweet and clever ‘unofficial prequel.’” ~ “Unauthorised prequels are never supposed to turn out this well.” ~ “Reading ‘The Night Before Christmas’ on Christmas Eve is a tradition within my family, and I wasn’t sure this version would measure up, but I was very pleasantly surprised!” ~ “The rhymes follow the cadence of Moore’s original poem perfectly.” ~ “Loved the ending and its nod to the classic.” ~ “Love that it segues into ‘The Night Before Christmas’ at the end. Adults and older children will especially love that!” ~ “It will be such fun to read the original, then read this after and let the students compare the two.” ~ “Just as good as the original ‘The Night Before Christmas,’ for sure.”


“OMG. I’m in love with this book!” ~ “I’m in love with this book!!!!!!” ~ “I LOVE THIS BOOK!!! Yep I really do love it.” ~ “Love Love Love!” ~ “Absolutely exquisite! I loved everything about it.” ~ “I was not expecting to love this book as much as I did.” ~ “Loved this poem!” ~ “Absolutely loved this book!” ~ “I fell in love with this book just from the title, so in a way, I was dreading reading it, because I feared it wouldn’t live up to the amusement I’d had. I’m happy to report the book very much lived up to its name.” ~ “I love Christmas and I loved this book.”


“Get your hands on this!” ~ “An absolute must for libraries.” ~ “I definitely recommend this one for families, libraries, and even schools.” ~ “Should find its way into homes and school libraries for years to come.” ~ “I recommend this book to both the young and the young at heart.” ~ “This is the best children’s book I have seen in a long time.”


“A total delight.” ~ “Brilliant.” ~ “This book blew me away!” ~ “Wonderful!!! Simply wonderful!!!” ~ “Absolutely enchanting.” ~ “An absolute win.” ~ “This is a treat!” ~ “A treasure.” ~ “Absolutely charming!” ~ “Clever and adorable.” ~ “Wonderful wonderful!” ~ “I was completely enchanted.” ~ “Enchanting, cozy, and just very, very sweet.” ~ “Truly magical.” ~ “Absolutely delightful!” ~ “Just amazing.” ~ “Filled with wonderment. “ ~ “Magical and cozy.” ~ “Puts a smile on your face.” ~ “My girls giggled the whole way through!” ~ “Awwwwwww!” ~ “Warmed my heart and made me smile.” ~ “You have to read it to understand the magic of ‘The Mice Before Christmas.’”

Sample Text

’Twas the day before Christmas, and all through their house,

The mice were preparing. There wasn’t a mouse

Who didn’t join in for the holiday flurry.

From top floor to bottom, they’d bustle and scurry.

Their party was planned for that evening at eight,

With so much to finish before it got late!

So, they scrambled and scampered—no task was neglected—

To deck out the halls for the guests they expected.

• • •

Excitement kept building—while patience did not—

Till the clock in the hallway reached eight on the dot.

As the chimes started sounding, the door was thrown wide,

And the guests in their finery crowded inside.

Good wishes and greetings turned into a din

Of merriments traded again and again.

“Merry Christmas to you!” “And to all in your nest!”

“I hope that the New Year will bring you the best!”

They chatted and drank steaming cider from mugs

That often got spilled in affectionate hugs.

• • •

They were dancing in lines, they were dancing in pairs.

They waltzed down the hallways, they polkaed up stairs.

They spilled out the doorway in time with the tune

And danced with the snow mice beneath the full moon.

And as they were dancing, what sight caught their eyes?

A colorful, fast-moving blur in the skies!

Then clearly they saw it: a brilliant red sleigh.

And lo and behold, it was headed their way!

Also available as a grayscale adult coloring book!

Book cover: The Mice Before Christmas

The Mice Before Christmas Coloring Book

A Grayscale Adult Coloring Book and Children’s Storybook

Featuring a Mouse House Tale of the Night Before Christmas

Pictures by Wendy Edelson
Story by Anne L. Watson

Skyhook Press

Paperback ~ 2022

Hardcover ~ 2022

The following links may earn commissions for this site.

Download a free copy of this book!
(PDF, 10 MB)

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