Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Folk artist and preacher Finster infuses his interpretation of the traditional holiday poem with his characteristic evangelical verve. Patterned with what look to be brush doodlings, his surreal compositions create a psychedelic party mood that contrasts sharply with the rather staid verse. Each spread is framed by a running word-border of such Finster preachings as "I am trying to get people back to God before the end of the earths [sic] planet." An eccentric dose of holiday cheer. All ages. (Oct.)
Spirin's (The Tale of the Firebird) luxurious watercolor-and-colored pencil compositions whisk readers to what looks like a snowy New England village in the 1800s for his graceful reimagining of Moore's poem. He renders every chimney, windowpane and bare tree branch with crisp style and care; Saint Nick is effortlessly jolly, donning blue boots with his traditional red fur garb. Each passage opens with a tiny spot illustration, accompanied by a vertical border piece on the side, shaped like a grandfather clock or a bookmark and depicting some village scenery. Youngsters will be pleased that the artist breaks with tradition, casting the narrator as a boy (instead of the father). An edition sure to be cherished, especially by Spirin fans and art lovers. All ages. (Sept.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Santa always knows just the perfect present, and so it is in Whatley's unusual interpretation of this classic Christmas poem. Santa spies a photograph of a boy dressed as a cowboy. The man indicates to Santa that it is a picture of himself, and when he was a child, he dreamed of being a cowboy. Santa presents him with a cowboy figure that appears to be of more recent vintage and looks somewhat like a cross between Gene Autry and Roy Rogers. Unusual angles and interesting perspectives abound in the illustrations. The reindeer are memorable for their expressions, and St. Nick is a kindly-looking fellow. This is the board book version of a picture book published in 1999. 2004 (orig. 1999), HarperFestival/HarperCollins, Ages 3 to 5.
Children's Literature - Sharon Salluzzo
An old-fashioned apprearance only begins to describe Rand's full color illustrations for this well-known and beloved Christmas poem. There are many eye-catching details to observe. There is a clean fireplace ready for Santa's descent down the chimney, but there is also a bookcase full of books on the right-hand side and a tree decorated with candles and paper chains. Lovely details accompany lines of the text. The children are warm and snug under their colorful quilts, Papa's toes are curled up as he looks out the window, the reindeer are attired in Nordic patterns, and Santa rides in a red sleigh that is covered with gold stars. With his twinkly eyes, this is the friendliest of Santas. Yet, with all the lovely details, the pictures are still simple and clean enough for toddlers and preschoolers to follow along. Originally published as a picture book, this traditional version is now appropriately available as a board book. Reviewer: Sharon Salluzzo
Children's Literature - Carlee Hallman
In this traditional Christmas poem, the pictures show Santa driving a space ship, although he still has reindeer. The dashboard of the sleigh has various dials that read: NITROUS GAMA E-INJECT, CONTINENT, HOT CHOCOLATE, and SPACE COMPRESS. In the illustration for "He was dressed all in fur," Santa wears white furry trousers. Various elves carry a plastic tape dispenser, dog milk bone, an origami stork, and use a vacuum cleaner. The artist has an interview with St. Nick in which the question of how Santa is able to distribute all the presents in one night is answered, "the sleigh is able to expand the moment between ‘tick' and ‘tock' on Christmas Eve." Children and their parents will enjoy the artist's humorous interpretation of this old favorite.
Children's Literature - Della A. Yannuzzi
The book isn't new, but the illustrations are. Clement C. Moore's classic book describing Santa's night visit delivering toys to good boys and girls is as delightful today as it was when first published in the 1800s. The rhymes, descriptive words, the reindeer with endearing names and Santa's helpers hurrying to finish the toys in time for delivery still delight young readers and adults alike. The description of Santa will linger in a child's mind as he waits for sleep. His eyes, how they twinkled! His dimples, how merry! His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry! His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow, and the beard of his chin was as white as the snow. It is a story that never grows old, but seems quite new through an illustrator's creative rendition. Illustrator Watson has done a wonderful job interpreting Moore's The Night Before Christmas. The drawings are clear, crisp and life-like. The colors are vivid and sharp and pleasing to the eye. The pictures jump out at the reader; they are so full of action. And Santa's 21st century sleigh is an up-to-date marvel that not only delivers toys, but at the touch of a button will serve up a cup of hot chocolate, espresso and milk for a weary Santa Claus. The elves in the front and back of the book are charming, whimsical visions of wonder. Lastly, the book cover is a close-up rendering of a jolly, red-cheeked, bearded Santa wearing flying goggles and headgear. "The Night Before Christmas" is a lovely tale, but Watson's illustrations are a feast for the eyes. Back material includes a clever Q & A two-pager between St. Nick and Watson. Reviewer: Della A. Yannuzzi
School Library Journal
K-Gr 5 No nostalgia here! Marshall's cartoon-like illustrations for Moore's well-known and much-loved poem are thoroughly modern, often very funny and typical of the artist. A cozy Cape Cod house sits in the snow with the unstirring mouse nestled in the bright green wreath on its door. Plump dogs, cats, a chicken (and even a mouse) abound in the comfortably cluttered house in which stockings are hung and people sleep. The animals join Papa as he watches the arrival of the plump old elf down the road and up to the roof. After his unceremonious entrance but before his gift distribution, St. Nick (in his cowboy boots with stars) poses for a photograph taken by the mouse and raids the refrigerator with his reindeer hungrily looking on. As St. Nick's final wish for a happy Christmas is exclaimed, the animals settle down again amid the bountiful and brightly decorated packages. Although the format is predictable (one page of text next to a one-page illustration), this is a fresh look at an old narrative. It may not appeal to everyone, but should cause all (except perhaps Scrooges) to chuckle. Maria B. Salvadore , District of Columbia Public Library
Rand illustrates Moore's famous poem in a large-format picture book that showcases his colorful paintings in a series of double-page spreads. Even children in the back row of a story-time group will get the full effect of the moonlit New England snowscapes and cozy, period interiors. Not a stretch for Rand, but he's comfortably in his stride here, and his fans will find plenty to like. In fact, almost anyone looking for a traditional, soft-focus interpretation of this Christmas favorite will find it an appealing picture book.
A most unusual title page sets the magical tone for this distinctive interpretation of Moore's classic Christmas poem. A full moon on the left-hand page encloses the author and illustrator information, with the volume's title spelled out across the bottom of the spread by the twisted branches of snow-topped trees. Santa and his reindeer soar overhead all the way to the edge of the right-hand page, leading the reader right into the story. The narrator of this version is a wide-eyed young boy who peers out the window in amazement and then creeps down the stairs to meet St. Nicholas as he fills the stockings. Spirin's sumptuous illustrations with touches of gold have a subtle glow provided by firelight or moonlight, with striking shadows courtesy of the full moon. A wordless spread in the center of the volume offers a dramatic pause with a full view of the sleigh and the reindeer in flight, golden sleigh bells glistening. The Victorian setting is complemented by an old-fashioned typeface and a tall, painted clock noting the midnight hour next to each verse of the poem. (author's note) (Picture book. 3-7)
Read an Excerpt
'Twas the night before Christmas,
when all through the house,
Not a creature was stirring,
not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung
by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas
soon would be there.