It is tradition in our house to read ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas‘ on Christmas Eve. Some of the wording is old fashioned and difficult for young children to understand but the illustrations in this version make Clement C. Moore’s traditional Christmas poem accessible to a younger generation of readers. The narrator in this version has been changed, instead of the father jumping out of bed and telling the story it is a small boy in striped pyjamas who watches St. Nicholas.
The Story: It’s Christmas Eve and everybody is in bed. Sam is woken by a noise and proceeds to tell the story of what he sees. He watches St. Nicholas flying through the sky with his reindeer before he comes down the chimney to deliver presents and fill stockings.
The Night Before Christmas has a lovely glittery cover showing Saint Nicholas flying through a starry sky in his sleigh. The story starts with a beautiful spread showing a Christmas tree and a fireplace hung with stockings. Everybody is asleep including the dog and a mouse who is sleeping under his own tiny stocking. Then we watch with the little boy as a bespectacled St. Nicholas calls out to his reindeer as they fly through the night sky. I was confused by the fact that one of the reindeer was referred to as Donder, it seems that the seventh reindeer has not always been called Donner (which is the German word for thunder).
Mark Marshall’s whimsical illustrations are a perfect accompaniment to the poem. St. Nicholas has a warm smile and twinkly eyes and the fact that the dog wakes up and is happy to see him also shows Sam that he has nothing to fear. My daughter was concerned about St. Nicholas burning himself in the fire but decided that his special clothes would protect him! I love the way that children accept the idea of reindeer flying through the sky with no question but then pick up on practicalities like fire safety!
This is a lovely version to introduce the littlest people to The Night Before Christmas and it’s the perfect bedtime story for Christmas Eve.
Age Range: 3+
Author: Clement C. Moore / Illustrator: Mark Marshall
Thank you to Little Tiger Press for sending us this beautifully illustrated version of The Night Before Christmas.
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