The Night Before Christmas Round-Up

Like many of us, “The Night Before Christmas” has been one of my favorites since I was a child. My family’s favorite version is one illustrated by Jan Brett (see last year’s review), and I have to admit that I have never felt the need to read any other edition. While strolling through the annual publishing industry’s trade show earlier this year, I couldn’t help but notice many different books featuring the classic poem, by Clement C. Moore, and decided to open my mind. Following are some editions that are very worth a look:

The Night Before Christmas: A Magical Cut-Paper Edition (Illustrated by Niroot Puttapipat, $17.99, Candlewick Press, 2007) is a unique novelty edition that would make a splendid gift. The illustrations feature black silhouettes with red, green and gold accents in just the right places. Peek-a-boo cut-outs highlight key points of the poem, such as tossing up “the sash,” spying on Santa, etcetera. The page bearing the famous final line features a beautiful pop-up of Santa and his reindeer soaring over the town. The spread just begs to be left open, but be careful of little hands, because the antlers and other details are very delicate.

Here are two titles that use the poem’s rhyming beat, but change the words for some freshness and humor. The Soldiers’ Night Before Christmas (By Trish Holland and Christine Ford, $8.99, Golden Books, 2006) pays homage to the brave souls in our armed forces, and though fun to read, sends a poignant message about soldiers who are separated from their loved ones at this time of year. A Pirate’s Night Before Christmas (By Philip Yates, $14.95, Sterling Publishing, 2008) is for young pirate wannabes. The illustrations are fantastic and are what truly makes this book a star. The rhyme is funny, though seemed a bit forced for my taste. Nevertheless, it is a refreshing change and a good library pick.

Finally, The Night Before Christmas: The Classic Edition (Illustrated by Charles Santore, $18.95, Applesauce Press, 2011) is a close second to our favorite and the one that really caught my eye at BookExpo. The high quality hardcover and pages, along with rich illustrations give it a Victorian heirloom feel. Featured on the first page is the poem as it was first published anonymously in The Troy Sentinel under the name “Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas” back in 1823. This newly released edition would make a very meaningful gift. Also, an edition bearing just the poem’s name (Illustrated by Bruce Whatley, $16.89, HarperCollins, 1999) also has a traditional graphic tone and highly detailed graphics that would make a super gift pick as well.

“Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”

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