Hobbie re-envisions this much-loved holiday poem through the eyes of a curious toddler and the family cat, along with the traditional patriarch narrator, in a radiant, gorgeously illustrated rendition. A snowy, magically moonlit sky and cozily appointed countryside home set the hushed, anticipatory scene for St. Nick’s wondrous visit. Wide-eyed astonishment on the faces of both father and child peeking at the action instantly convey the excitement of the season while watercolor and pen and ink spots, panels, and spreads present gentle, homey details—the toddler’s drop-seat pajamas, rustic garlands and stockings, a well-used fireplace. An artist’s note and information about Moore close out this volume. Ages 3–6. (Oct.)
"The watercolor, pen-and-ink, and gouache illustrations...capture light wonderfully."
"Hobbie's is one of the most attractive and engaging versions of Moore's poem, an edition to be savored, saved and shared."The New York Times
* "There is a hushed, magical feeling in Hobbie's masterful illustrations.... Every element of the book's thoughtful design is skillfully chosen.... One to savor over and over, year after year."Kirkus Reviews, starred review
* "A radiant, gorgeously illustrated rendition."Publishers Weekly, starred review
"Holly Hobbie has outdone herself.... Utterly enchanting."The Wall Street Journal
"This version of the holiday classic stand[s] out.... A fine edition to freshen up holiday collections."School Library Journal
"The watercolor, pen-and-ink, and gouache illustrations...capture light wonderfully."The Horn Book
"Vivid...appealing...engaging...will speak to horse-crazy kids everywhere."
"A shining star in the collection of Holly Hobbie books."
"Hobbie's is one of the most attractive and engaging versions of Moore's poem, an edition to be savored, saved and shared."
"Holly Hobbie has outdone herself.... Utterly enchanting."
PreS-Gr 2—This over-the-top illustrated version of the holiday classic will be fun to share over and over again. Ercolini has St. Nicholas dropping in on a house that has taken the extreme Christmas decorating challenge seriously. Literally every surface is covered with decorations, and Santa is dwarfed by the huge Santa display on the roof. Sugar plums dance, Dad is reading a decorating magazine while Mom dozes over her knitting, and the cookies for Santa have been replaced by a dessert buffet. VERDICT The cartoon illustrations, full of humor and charm, add a wink and a twinkle that parents and children will enjoy.—Anne Connor, Los Angeles Public Library
Hobbie's fresh interpretation of the beloved Christmas classic offers a new way to see the arrival of St. Nick, from the perspective of one of the children of the household, rather than just the father. An intriguing cover illustration sets the scene, with the four children of the family snuggled up in a huge bed. The three older children are sound asleep, but look closely at the youngest boy, a towheaded toddler in a footed sleeper-suit. He's wide awake, and he and the family's cat head downstairs together. The little boy hides in a striped armchair and secretly watches as Santa arrives for his delivery. The father of the family is also awake and watching, connecting effectively with the narrator's voice in the poem. There is a hushed, magical feeling in Hobbie's masterful illustrations, done in watercolor, gouache, and pen and ink. She effectively captures the subdued lighting of the quiet house at night and the dark, mysterious atmosphere of the outdoor scenes with deep-gray skies, snowy vistas and a single fox standing by. Every element of the book's thoughtful design is skillfully chosen, including surprising perspectives, effective use of white space and an elegant type that echoes the muted palette of the illustrations. This is a quiet Night Before Christmas, one to savor and read over and over, year after year. (artist's note) (Picture book. 3-7)