The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore illustrated by Holly Hobbie
Everyone is familiar with this story of a family snuggled in bed on Christmas Eve. The father hears a noise and while investigating, gets a look at the infamous St. Nick. I’m fairly jaded when it comes to this poem, since it has been illustrated so many times, in every style imaginable. Leave it to Holly Hobbie to bring a fresh perspective.
It turns out there is a creature stirring! The toddler of the family is wide awake and on the move. As the familiar text progresses, the toddler and the family’s cat make the trek from bed to an overstuffed chair in the living area. From this vantage point the toddler peeks in wonderment as the events unfold.
As usual, Holly Hobbie’s watercolor illustrations are spot-on. From the first hushed scene of the house shrouded in snow, to the very last look at the sweet-faced toddler, each illustration is simply enchanting. The illustration where the father’s expression echoes the wide-eyed wonder of the child is priceless. Each page is a perfect blend of shadow and light, whether the light source is the full moon or a lamp.
It might be tempting to overlook this selection, because the poem has been done so many different ways; however you don’t want to miss this charming version. Children always enjoy the story and adults will smile at the impish toddler, seeing themselves or their own offspring in the child’s curiosity. The last pages include historical details about the poem and a note from the artist.
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