The Night Before Christmas - Story Snug

Dec 24th: Emily Guille-Marrett (aka Reading Fairy) chooses The Night Before Christmas

Author: Clement Clarke Moore / Illustrator: Robert Sabuda

The Story: This is a truly magical Christmas edition of Clement Clarke Moore’s classic poem. The rhythm and rhyme make it joyful to read aloud and share together with family and friends of any age.

Robert Sabuda’s intricate images and pop-ups add another layer of excitement and curiosity – showing how interactive and precious a paper engineered printed book can be. And we have been lucky to be given many other wonderful Christmas pop-up books by Sabuda since – I thoroughly recommend collecting them.

(NB Try not to get too precious and ruin the fun as the odd paper accident will happen with younger children I’m afraid!)

Why is The Night Before Christmas your favourite Christmas book?

To be honest this isn’t my favourite Christmas book (sorry for breaking the rules!).

I have so many favourites I could choose and I love them all for different reasons. The list is endless and they’re all kept in a box until the end of November and brought out again every year with the decorations. Even the baby and toddler books are still loved at this nostalgic and festive time of year.
Dear Santa by Rod Campbell – This fun pop-up Christmas re-working of Dear Zoo. A book loved by my boys when they were babies and toddlers and shared by me in Reading Fairy classes and Christmas story events today.
Mog’s Christmas by Judith Kerr – Every year this never fails to delight. I think this has to be a staple in every child’s house at Christmas.
The Snowman and Father Christmas by Raymond Briggs – It’s a joy to see my boys curl up with this even
Stick Man by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler – I’ll let you into a little secret…I love Stick Man even more than The Gruffalo’s Child! Of course The Gruffalo’s Child is wonderful to read aloud and Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without it. Firstly, I love a stick – find me a child who doesn’t! Secondly, it’s the perfect story and has a sense of real drama and suspense. Thirdly, it has Father Christmas – that’s got to be a winning formula. Finally, the family are united again for Christmas day. Ahhh!

I’m cheekily going to use this opportunity to shout about the importance of sharing books at Christmas. One year, I was invited to a neighbour’s house, young and old sat round as a retired teacher united the community reading extracts from Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. It showed how we all need to be read aloud to and not to underestimate the importance of reading classes to very young children.

Can you describe a favourite illustration or give a favourite quote from The Night Before Christmas and tell us why you chose it.

It has to be the very famous opening of the poem that nearly everyone can join in with:

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house,
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;

For me, this opening immediately sets the scene and creates a wonderful sense of anticipation.

About Emily

Emily Guille-Marrett - Story Snug

Emily Guille-Marrett is a publishing consultant, writer, lecturer, Series Editor of the new Big Cat Phonics books and co-founder of Reading Fairy classes and story events for 1-5 year olds.

Prior to Reading Fairy, Emily commissioned and published children’s books and digital content to help children learn to read for Oxford University Press, Pearson Education and Ladybird. Emily’s more recent consultancy work has included projects for: Harper Collins, Book Trust, Kent Libraries, Oxford Children’s Books, Scholastic, KM Charity Team and Canterbury Christchurch University.

Emily enjoys working closely with educational consultant and children’s reading expert Charlotte Raby to work creatively with people and organizations committed to giving children the best start for reading for life.

You can follow me and say hello on Twitter @EmilyEatsBooks. As co-founder of Reading Fairy classes and story events for 1-5 year olds, do follow our company on Facebook or Twitter. Our website is currently being updated for 2018 but do check out

Emily’s Books

I have spent the last year working with Charlotte Raby Series Editing and co-writing books to help children learn to read for Collins Education. Do please check them out, share them, ask questions and enjoy!

Which book is on your Christmas wishlist this year?

The Lost Words by Robert MacFarlane and Jackie Morris – What a book!

Thanks to Catherine at Story Snug. It’s been a challenging set of Q&As and I struggled to choose just one book – but I’ve relished this opportunity.

Happy New Year!

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