The Night Before Christmas – Clement C. Moore, illustrations by Anita Lobel

    The Night Before Christmas – Clement C. Moore, illustrations by Anita Lobel, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, 9781534469679, c1984, 2020

Format: Hardcover

Rating:  1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5

Genre: Picture Book

 What did you like about the book? Since this classic poem is nothing new (written in 1822), I spent my time with this book focusing on the wonderful illustrations provided by Anita Lobel. Keep in mind that Lobel is a Caldecott Honor winner (for her illustrations in On Market Street), so you can imagine that the illustrations in this book are wonderful. I will say one thing about the poem, I see something new every time I read it. For example the phrase, ”As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly, when they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky…”, I know I have read this hundreds of times, but it really resonated with me this time. I really sat for a minute and contemplated the imagery of leaves rising up in the wind. The illustrations feature a very “old fashioned” setting complete with Victorian furnishing, winding staircases, flowered carpeting, and snow-capped townhouses on a winter evening. At least for adults, this creates a very nostalgic feeling associated with the holiday season.

I know there are many picture books on the marker that feature this poem, but this book is a wonderful addition to any holiday collection. The illustrations provide such a cozy winter scene with fluffy comforters on the bed, a beautifully decorated Christmas tree, holly branches along the fireplace mantle, even a smiling full moon observing all the events of Christmas Eve.

Anything you did not like about the book. Nothing, this poem never gets old.

To whom would you recommend this book? This book is perfect for just about any age above two years old. The rhythmic nature of the text and beautiful illustrations will appeal to a wide range of children.

Who should buy this book? Public and elementary school libraries, preschools, daycare centers, anyone who works with children older than two years old.

Where would you shelve it? Picture Books, Poetry, or even a holiday section.

 Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes, a classic holiday poem accompanied with beautiful illustrations is always a good addition to any library collection.

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Kristin Guay, former youth services librarian.

Date of review: November 14, 2020

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