Friday, December 10, 2010

'Twas the Night before Christmas

Hello, readers!  You know my affinity for collecting particular books, and 'Twas the Night Before Christmas is yet another title that I just love rediscovering in varying illustrators' interpretations!  And let me let you in on a little secret: I have yet to explain any particulars about Santa Claus to the children.  This poem has done all the work for me! Isn't the language perfectly beautiful?!

Oh, this dear copy by Holly Hobbie (c. 1970) brings back so many memories.  It was the first Holly Hobbie book I ever saw and the only copy of The Night before Christmas that I remember.  To say that I'm quite attached to Holly Hobbie's interpretation is putting it mildly.  She alone has recreated the Santa of my childhood imagination.  I mean, honestly, can you find a better rendition of The children were nestled all snug in their beds, / While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads?  No one can compete with Holly Hobbie's illustration of this stanza!

And then, in a twinkling I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.

My husband discovered Niroot Puttapipat's (c. 2007) interpretation a few years ago.  This book boldly declares itself: "a magical cut-paper edition."  Well, it's quite right -- it provides quite a magical experience.  I love the effect Puttapipat's silhouettes and cutouts contribute, leaving room for the imagination to envision it's own particulars.  Look for Puttapipat's intricate details: hidden Nutcracker soldiers and mice and a tree decorated to the tune of the Twelve Days of Christmas.  Truly this is a beautiful edition!

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky . . .

I also love this dear little 2 X 3 copy illustrated by Tasha Tudor and printed by Joh. Enshede en Zonen, Haarlem, Holland, given to me by my Aunt Teresa.  Tudor presents an enchanting, elfin Santa in this edition.

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke, it encircled his head like a wreath;

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there; 

But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,
'Happy Christmas to all, and to all a goodnight!'

Yep, it's another book that every parent should own!  The best edition of this beloved poem is the one with which you most identify.  So readers, tell us, what's your favorite edition of The Night Before Christmas by Clement Clarke Moore?

Background info.
 ~ Clement Clarke Moore penned this renowned Christmas poem in 1825. 
 ~ It was originally published as an "Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas" in the newspaper Troy Sentinel.  
 ~ Tradition holds that Moore wrote the poem for his children on Christmas Eve in 1822.  
 ~ Our modern image of Santa Claus as "pump . . . jolly" figure traces back to Moore's detailed depiction.


    1. What a perfect post! I feel like now I should grab a cup of hot chocolate and sit by the fire! Love these vintage books and illustrations - priceless.

      My 7 yr old daughter memorized this poem 'just cuz'! XO L

    2. Oh, Emily, what a delightful post! Now I'm heading off to Booko to see if I can find these versions ☺. J x