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The Night Before Christmas

The Night Before Christmas

3.8 7
by Jan Brett
The beloved Christmas poem, abridged, that features stockings hung by the chimney with care, a miniature sleigh and eight tiny rendeer, and St. Nick himself -- all depicted inside a bright red, house-shaped ornament. The shadow box scenes show Santa with a bag of toys on one side and Santa's sleigh flying into the night on the other.


The beloved Christmas poem, abridged, that features stockings hung by the chimney with care, a miniature sleigh and eight tiny rendeer, and St. Nick himself -- all depicted inside a bright red, house-shaped ornament. The shadow box scenes show Santa with a bag of toys on one side and Santa's sleigh flying into the night on the other.

Editorial Reviews

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.)
Children's Literature - Mary Quattlebaum
This familiar tale is given new color and character through Tudor's paintings. Children will love hearing of how visions of sugarplums dance, and the father springs from his bed "to see what was the matter," in this timeless treasure of a story. Tudor's Victorian-style watercolors and trademark animals-corgi, a cat and numerous goats-adorn the pages of this beloved classic, written in 1822.
Children's Literature - Marilyn Courtot
It is signature Jan Brett, a story told in the text with another story told in the bright, detailed pictures that frame the larger images. The poem by Moore is familiar and Brett breathes new life into it with her interpretation. Set in the not too distant past, Father in his stocking cap watches St. Nick go about his business. Two young elves have stowed away in St. Nick's sleigh and do cause some slight mischief, but nothing St. Nick can't handle. Kids and adult readers will enjoy looking at all of the minutiae in the large illustrations that spread across two pages and the amusing details highlighted within the border insets. A book destined to become a holiday favorite.
Children's Literature - Dr. Judy Rowen
Tudor's watercolors decorate the classic Christmas poem. The illustrations flip from black and white to full-color, and are filled with many details appropriate to the era of Moore's poem. Santa is a "right jolly old elf", quite a bit smaller than we are used to seeing him depicted. The illustrations are framed and placed on blue backgrounds, so they are considerably smaller than the pages of the book. This version of the poem will be most appreciated by the nostalgic reader who owned it as a child.
Children's Literature - Leila Toedo
This favorite holiday tale is captured in a beautiful antique reproduction. A particularly appealing feature is the introduction, which gives a historical account of the origin of Saint Nicholas and how the author came to write the poem.
School Library Journal
PreS Up--Adults who love nostalgic Christmas images will be charmed by this title, which includes samples of the work of some of the great children's book illustrators of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Edens and Darling selected the illustrations from their own collection of antique picture books, choosing the pictures they felt best illustrated each stanza. Children, however, might be disconcerted by the many different versions of Santa Claus, some of which are frankly kind of creepy looking. Artistic styles vary dramatically and sometimes the transitions from one scene to another are abrupt. While it is interesting to see the many interpretations of Santa juxtaposed, most children will prefer an edition of the story with a single illustrator who gives a unique and consistent vision of Santa and the night before Christmas. Illustrators for each page are listed in the back of the book.--AC
Carolyn Phelan
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.

Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
11.10(w) x 11.04(h) x 0.44(d)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

What People are Saying About This

Jan Brett
From a barnesandnoble.com e-nnouncement

Jan Brett is undeniably one of the foremost children's authors in the country. In her latest, THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS, Brett puts a unique spin on the Clement Moore poem "The Night Before Christmas." Here's an exclusive barnesandnoble.com essay on why she decided to retell this Christmas classic.

All About: The Night Before Christmas by Jan Brett

When I was little, I couldn't wait for Christmas, because it meant toys! There wasn't anything more fun and mysterious than tiptoeing downstairs with my sisters to see bulging stockings. Giving gifts to others was just as fun, because we could pick out the presents ourselves, or even better, make them. THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS is my present to you. Most of my books come from my imagination, but illustrating Moore's poem is an enthusiastic response to all the children and friends that suggested it.

For a long time, I couldn't find a way to illustrate "The Night Before Christmas," because the line "...all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse" stopped me. I love drawing "creatures," and first thing, right at the beginning, Clement Moore wrote that not one was stirring!

One night, lying in bed, an idea came. No creature was stirring inside the house, but what about outside? It was as if a door opened up in my imagination, and I knew how I could share the creativity with Clement Moore. Two elves would stow away in Santa's sleigh. While Santa does his Christmas work, the elves would have a grand time with all the toys up on the roof, ride the reindeer, and play, play, play!

It's daunting to illustrate a poem as famous as "The Night Before Christmas." Clement Moore wrote it on Christmas Eve for his six children. When it was printed in a newspaper, The Troy Sentinel, in 1823, readers clipped it out and saved it to read to their children. St. Nick was patterned after a cheery, chubby Dutchman who worked in the Moores' neighborhood. Our summer home is a cabin in the Berkshire Hills of Massachusetts -- down the valley lies Stockbridge, the town I chose for the setting of my book.

Stockbridge's Main Street is familiar to many of us because it was home to Norman Rockwell, America's most loved illustrator. He painted not just Stockbridge but the people in it, and I was inspired by the tradition. The family in my book is my sister's family, and if you visit Stockbridge you will first recognize the scene from Rockwell's painting, and then you see how I tucked it into the dedication page of my book.

Many of the toys children played with in Clement Moore's time would look unfamiliar to us today: hoops, china-headed dolls, or a ball on a stick, for example. I painted old-fashioned toys in my book, but I set my version of the poem in a later time so I could include some of my favorite toys too. My sister Jeannie received a Steiff stuffed animal for Christmas every year. She has lovingly kept them for her children to play with, and when the children open their copy of the book, they'll see some of "their" stuffed animals. One of my daughter Lia's favorite toys is a tin wind-up snail. See if you can find it. There is also a very old teddy bear named "Muzzle" pictured. He belonged to my uncle Bill. I used to see him when I visited my Grandmother Baba, who kept Muzzle after Bill grew up. Although he has always had a dignified spot, in my book he's tumbling through the air as Santa magically whistles everyone and everything back on board his sleigh.

Did you know that teddy bears are a relatively new toy? Our 26th President, Theodore Roosevelt, received much notice in the newspapers when he refused to shoot a trapped bear while on a hunting trip. His actions caught the public's fancy, and the teddy bear was soon created. "Teddy" is a nickname for both Theodore and the teddy bear. Walk into almost any toy store and you will find a teddy bear!

And finally, I'd like to wish all of you, young and old alike, a warm and cheery holiday filled with love and warmth and light! Happy Holidays!

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The Night Before Christmas: Book & DVD 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
royaltexas More than 1 year ago
When ordering a book by Jan Brett, you can't go wrong. This book is no exception. It has beautiful illustrations, and is shadow boxes as usual. My children love it, and my 1st grade class loved it too.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The text is the standard. I chose this version (out of many) for a grandchild because, to me, the drawings were the prettiest in a classical sense.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
SugarPlumAngel More than 1 year ago
This is a tineless story with new illustrations befitting the grandeur of the spirit of Christmas love and giving. The illustrations are beautiful and evoke feelings of childhood joy, the spirit of giving and the beauty and charm of holiday traditions. This edition is very elegant and whimsical, and the story surpasses excellence. The artwork lifts one's spirit and leaves us remembering that hope, love, and compassion for the children all over our world is the most important Christmas lesson of all. It's a beautiful storybook for all ages.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
BrendaIN More than 1 year ago
I have read this story since I was a child and I never get tired of it. It is a delight to read and savor for all times.