25 Days – Book 16: The Night Before Christmas

Well, I promised it to you, and now here it is for our sixteenth day: Holly Hobbie’s new version of Clement C. Moore’s famous poem. With fresh, vibrant, and gorgeous illustrations, Hobbie has given new life to Moore’s poem, adding in a new burst of wonder and amusement. Here is The Night Before Christmas by Holly Hobbie, poem by Clement C. Moore, 2013.

Hopefully you aren’t getting tired of these unique illustrated versions of “The Night Before Christmas” because I actually have a couple more to share this year. (And I’m adding a tag just for this poem in case you want to see all the different ones that appear this year and past.) There is just something about this classic poem that seems to inspire artists. I love how different each version tends to be. Even when illustrated by the same person with 43 years between them, the interpretation is so different. I think it is fascinating to look at the two together and examine how much Holly Hobbie’s style has changed over the years. Her skill is never questionable, she is just continuing to change and grow and do things differently.

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With this new take, Hobbie has “intended to lend a fresh perspective to the tale.” She describes this in a closing artist’s note in relation to the addition of the watching toddler. I particularly like this added dimension to the story as it does what I frequently comment I love, it makes the words and the pictures say something slightly different. The narration of the text continues on with its phrases and believes that “not a creature is stirring,” but the reader gets inside the joke that actually there is a little one afoot! What wonder the little guy must feel watching Santa come in with his troop!

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I find Holly Hobbie’s illustrations to be absolutely stunning. I have always liked her style from years ago, but I deeply love her growth into the art she makes now. With watercolor, pen and ink, and gouache she creates magical pieces with gradient tonal depth. She is wonderful at depicting light and giving focus with her color palette choices. And her characters are as tightly drawn and beautiful as ever. Her creation of St. Nick here is marvelous. He is quite the master elf and his shape is charming.

I highly encourage you to go add this book to your collection. It is quite possibly going to reign as my new favorite version of this familiar poem. I delight in watching the little guy toddle about and experience Christmas in a whole new way of wonder.

Follow along our book adventure at 25 Days of Christmas Books 2014!

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