Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Night Before Christmas

The Night Before Christmas

Clement C. Moore
Illustrator:  Gennady Spirin 
Picture Book
For ages 4 to 8
Marshall Cavendish, 2006   ISBN: 978-0761452980

Most of us are familiar with the famous poem which describes how merry old "St. Nick" visits a house on Christmas Eve and how he is heard and seen by one of the residents of the house as he puts presents in the stockings "hung by the chimney with care."

In this beautifully illustrated version of the poem Gennady Spirin has created luscious paintings which skillfully capture the magic of this very special night and this one-of-a-kind encounter. The pages which include text are carefully decorated with illuminated type, illustrated side bars, and cunningly ornamented page numbers. One glorious full double page spread illustration shows St. Nick in his sleigh, his reindeers in full flight with their gleaming bells and harnesses glittering in the moonlight. Readers will quickly become aware that the illustrator has filled his paintings with wonderful details.

He also shows the events mentioned in the poem from many different points of view. Thus we see the little boy looking out the window as the shadow of the sleigh falls across the wall of the house; we see St. Nick entering the chimney on the roof; and we also see him filling the stockings as the little boy looks on. We are therefore able to see everything, just as it is described in the narration.

At the back of the book that illustrator has included an interesting section about the history of this famous and much loved poem.