Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Night Before Christmas: A Magical Cut-Paper Edition

The Night Before Christmas: A Magical Cut-Paper Edition

Clement C. Moore
Illustrator:  Niroot Puttapipat 
Picture Book
For ages 4 and up
Candlewick Press, 2007   ISBN: 978-0763634698

On this night before Christmas we are going to take a familiar journey, but there is a difference this time. Though the story is the same and though those wonderful words are unchanged, the scene before our eyes is very different. This time we begin by seeing the house from the outside and then we are able to take a peak and look inside the house as well. There we see a few mice playing in an attic room. We see those stocking "hung by the chimney with care" and we see all kinds of tiny details which delight the eye.

Further along, as we would expect, Saint Nick flies up in his "miniature sleigh" pulled by "eight tiny reindeer"and the narrator hears the grand conveyance land on the roof. What a sight it is too! And if the site of the Saint Nick isn't enough, we can see the mice and toys soldiers having a little battle in one of the attic rooms.

Downstairs the Christmas tree is decorated with all kinds of cunning ornaments, each one perfection in its detail. Here there is an angel, there there is a tiny snowflake. Among other things there is a horse, a reindeer, a milkmaid, and a camel. Around the corner, Saint Nick is coming down the chimney.

Readers who love Clement C. Moore's wonderful poem will be hard pressed to find a more beautiful version than this. Niroot Puttapipat's extraordinary illustrations are quite stunning, the level of detail being truly astonishing. Paper cut-outs, one fold-out, and a final pop-up extravaganza on the last page add to the magical element of the artwork. This is a book which picture book collectors will definitely want to have in their collections.