25 Days – Book 24: The Night Before Christmas (Reid)

Now it is truly the night before Christmas, and so I bring the last of the illustrated books in our countdown bearing such a name by Clement C. Moore. I have saved a new favorite for last, as I was astounded to find it and behold its amazing clay illustrations. Allow me to show you The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore, illustrations by Barbara Reid, 2013.

Perhaps it is an embarrassing confession to make, but I was quite obsessed with clay as a child and on into my teen years. I even had my own business for a while making figures and jewelry with baking clay. When I saw these illustrations by Barbara Reid, that creative side of me went crazy. Having worked with clay myself before, I was fascinated by the detail and texture and depth of these illustrations. Reid works with a kind of plasticine that does not dry out or need to be baked. It is incredible the spreads she creates.

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This Night Before Christmas tale is set in a mouse world. Even Santa is a mouse with a sharp red cloak. While I found the whole Santa description a little bit of a stretch in describing a mouse, the rest of the story is a fascinating setting for these mice. All the mouse creatures in bunk beds, with tiny mouse possessions… so fun to see.

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A most impressive spread is this one below where Santa appears on the mouse house in his sleigh pulled by an enormous reindeer. That animal you only see the paws of and it is an impressive and mind-boggling depiction. The texture of the fur Reid achieves is so interesting!

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I find all these different takes on Moore’s poem to be so unique and fascinating. It really is amazing how so many illustrators can interpret a single poem in a broad range of ways.

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Be sure to check out Barbara Reid’s website. She has many videos showing how she works with plasticine and it is impressive to watch her technique at work.

Happy Christmas Eve friends! Keep an ear out for that elusive jolly fellow on your roof or in your chimney. I’d love to know just what form he takes in your imagination!

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

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