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'Twas the Night Before Christmas
     

'Twas the Night Before Christmas

by Anonymus, Matt Tavares (Illustrator)
 
Dramatic, authentically rendered monochrome illustrations, accented with gold foil, bring a Christmas classic to life.

Once upon a time, children imagined St. Nicholas as a stern, skinny bishop who was as likely to dole out discipline as Christmas presents. But thanks to the anonymous publication of the poem "Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas" in

Overview

Dramatic, authentically rendered monochrome illustrations, accented with gold foil, bring a Christmas classic to life.

Once upon a time, children imagined St. Nicholas as a stern, skinny bishop who was as likely to dole out discipline as Christmas presents. But thanks to the anonymous publication of the poem "Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas" in the TROY SENTINEL in 1823, a plumper, merrier St. Nick was born, transformed into the sleigh-riding, chimney-diving, jolly old elf we now call Santa Claus.

This immensely popular, hugely influential poem - better known by its first line, " ’Twas the night before Christmas" - now gets its just treatment as an American icon. Featuring gorgeous monochrome illustrations that are painstakingly true to pre-Victorian times, this definitive edition reflects the original spelling and punctuation - and is published anonymously, just as it was in 1823, in keeping with the controversy over who really wrote this marvelous work.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publishers Weekly
What Tavares's (Zachary's Ball) monochrome art for this famous poem may lack in seasonal palette, it more than makes up for in authenticity. The artist pays homage to the original text, incorporating the spellings and phrasings of 1823, the year in which the verse first appeared in a Troy, N.Y., newspaper. Stark yet lushly textured pencil drawings, recalling the work of Chris Van Allsburg, capture the mystery, surprise and anticipation of what many children consider the most magical night of the year. The finely wrought portraits and shadowy, snow-covered Victorian setting will enchant. Ages 5-up. (Oct.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
In a full-page introductory note, Tavares (Zachary’s Ball, 2000) details the origins of the famous poem (attributed to Clement C. Moore some years after its first publication in a NY newspaper in 1823), which spurred the tradition in the US of hanging up stockings to be filled by St. Nicholas. The text here uses the first known form of the poem, with original punctuation, spelling, grammar ("He sprung to his sleigh . . . "), and reindeer names restored (Dunder and Blixem rather than Donder and Blitzen). Hence the designation of an anonymous author, as well. Tavares provides monochromatic pencil illustrations with old-fashioned details and a period setting complementary with the poem’s original period, but his sophisticated perspectives and cinematic lighting pull the whole into the modern era. Through varying viewpoints the reader looks up into the sky as the reindeer and sleigh soar over tall houses; in another illustration the reader looks down on the father as he throws his head back to look up at the noises on the roof; and in the following illustration, the reader looks down the stairs along with the father at Santa unloading his pack. A narrow ribbon of green borders the illustrations and the text pages, which have a subtle shading of green at the top to add some additional color. The moody illustrations suggest the drama and excitement of the magical night in an unusual way. (Picture book. 3-6)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780763615857
Publisher:
Candlewick Press
Publication date:
10/28/2002
Edition description:
1ST
Pages:
32
Product dimensions:
10.10(w) x 11.62(h) x 0.38(d)
Age Range:
5 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Matt Tavares is the author-illustrator of ZACHARY'S BALL. While researching the elegantly detailed illustrations in ’TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS, he studied the Gibson House, a brownstone in Boston’s historic Back Bay, and also spent time in the decorative arts wing of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. "As a child," he recalls, "I would lie quietly in bed on Christmas Eve, unable to sleep, listening carefully for any sign that Santa Claus and his reindeer might be on the roof. There were times when I was sure I heard sleigh bells. But I never experienced the thrill of actually seeing him come down the chimney. Maybe someday. . . ."

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