As illustrator Matt Tavares writes in an opening note, the well-known and beloved poem “Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas” (more commonly called “’Twas the Night Before Christmas,” after its opening line) was first published anonymously in the New York “Troy Sentinel” in 1823. Eventually a man named Clement C. Moore claimed authorship of the poem, and it has been attributed to him ever since.
Tavares has used the original words from the initial publication of the poem and added his own unique monochromatic pencil illustrations. The moonlight and reflection from the snow-covered landscape cast light on the realistic nighttime drawings, lending them a magical quality as well as an ineffable sense of nostalgia for Christmases past. Red ribbons setting off the text suggest the festive nature of the season and the promise of gifts to come.
Evaluation: The heartwarming story and lush illustrations will win over any child audience in the 3 and over crowd, not to mention the adult readers. This would make an outstanding Christmas gift for kids, and I can see this becoming a permanent addition to a family’s library.
Published by Candlewick Press in 2002 and reissued in 2022
Nota Bene: There is a wonderful companion book to get with this one. Dasher, the story of where Santa got his reindeer, was written as well as illustrated by Matt Tavares, and was published by Candlewick in 2019.
Good illustrated Christmas book for children.