It is the thirteenth day of December and we are back again for a quick Advent book journey review. Taking up a traditional text with another illustrator’s interpretation of it, here is Holly Hobbie’s The Night Before Christmas, written by Clement C. Moore and illustrated by Holly Hobbie, 1970.
I will not write again the details about this much known and recited text, but instead, let us focus on the illustrations. I am a huge fan of Holly Hobbie, especially her recent Toot & Puddle series and most deeply her Fanny book which I have yet to review here. This book however is from her early work and the illustration style is old, and comfortable, and just plain lovely. She takes a literal spin on the text, illustrating what it narrates, and creates sweet illustrations for each section. I love the details she sets into each vignette. That quilt on the children’s bed is one of my favorite pieces, not to mention their sweet faces.
Her Santa is adorable and what I think most children come to see as the picturesque version of old St. Nick. He remains one of the most whimsical characters in this book, everything else having a realistic yet still illustrated style. Even the reindeer maintain a natural look while he looks like an elf amongst them.
I don’t remember reading this book as a child, but something about her style and pictures makes me feel like home. The illustrations are muted. And the vignettes are a gentle way to frame each section. I’m not a huge fan of the large type which seems to be rivaling attention from the art, but I think her detailed style works so well in the tiny, invisible frames she has on each page. This is an excellent vintage version of the classic poem, that gives a new look to the familiar stanzas. I will let you in on a secret though, Holly Hobbie has illustrated this text again very recently and I am ecstatic to show it to you very soon! It is a beautiful new version and completely different. So fascinating! Stay tuned!
And follow along our book adventure at 25 Days of Christmas Books 2014!