Christmas eve mishap

The night before Christmas I was reading The Night Before Christmas to The Daughters (as I am wont to do on the night before Christmas). I found this beautiful oversized hardbound edition with illustrations by Christian Birmingham.


I’m not sure what medium Mr. Birmingham used for the illustrations. They’re either pastels or chalk or something of that ilk.


The drawings have an eerie nighttime quality. I love them.


I got halfway through the book and found a glaring typo! They left out a word! The fourth line should read: “With THE sleigh full of toys—” I checked it against other copies of this story we have and it’s definitely a gaffe.


Mrs. Wife thinks I’m making too big a deal out of it but I am astonished that this could happen. Do you know how many eyes see this before it’s sent to print? It was printed in China so maybe they did it.

It’s one thing if they leave a word out of, say, Joyce’s Ulysses. Who would even notice?! Or care!? But if the entire page only contains 19 words and you leave one of them out, people are going to pick up on that. Even a dunce like me could spot it. (Yes, I’m fully aware the my blog entries are often riddled with grammatical and spelling mishaps.) I’m thinking of going back to Barnes & Noble to try and get my money back. Just to see if they would do it.

* * *

My favorite James Joyce joke: James Joyce is sitting at a table weeping uncontrollably. Ernest Hemingway walks into the room and says, “What the hell’s the matter with you this time?” Joyce says, “Ernest, I wrote eight words today!” Hem says, “What are you crying about?! For you, that’s pretty good!” Joyce says, “Yes, but I don’t know what order they go in!”

* * *

Fun fact about The Night Before Christmas: The actual title of the poem is A Visit From St. Nicholas, but those words never appear in the story. The opening stanza became so popular that they officially changed the title. It’s like The Who’s Baba O’Riley which is often misidentified as Teenage Wasteland.

10 thoughts on “Christmas eve mishap

  1. Copy errors like that are glaring to me as well, and I’ve often wondered who to complain to? But if you’re going to head back out in town and try your luck at the bookstore, make sure you go to Barnes and NOBLE. 🙂 Merry Christmas!

  2. having worked in publishing it annoys me that this can happen, unfortunately now a lot of publishing companies don’t bother with proof readers they use software to do it. Clearly the machine decided we didn’t need all the words.Lovely illustrations though.

  3. oh please please please ask the bookshop for a refund on those grounds….. I want to know what they say!Better yet, I want to read their blog after you walk back out the door empty handedxx

  4. Map: Were the dyslexics dykes? [With all apologies to my gay readers. I couldn’t resist.]One: Welcome! Yeah, I did that on purpose to see if anyone was paying attention and to prove a point. {not.}St. Jude: Welcome! I’m sorry to hear that. I know they have spell check software, but to my knowledge, there’s no such thing as grammar check. Too bad for me!Nurse: It is tempting. I’d probably be laughed out of the store.Daisy: You are so clever! I was wondering if anyone would pick up on that.Gnu: I have a lot of nerve throwing stones. I barely have a grasp of English myself. But I couldn’t resist.

  5. Those really are lovely pictures!And as for returning it–I’ll bet you anything they’ll take it back on those grounds, without batting an eye. I worked in bookstores and we certainly would have, even commiserating with the aggravation of the missing “the.”

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