Saturday, December 15, 2007

#5 Favorite Christmas Picture Book: The Night Before Christmas

This classic Christmas poem by Clement C. Moore was written to enchant his own children in 1822. It was published a year later and has become a favorite of young and old alike. Christmas would not be Christmas without some reference to this poem.

Many, many picture books use this poem as their text. Some of them are worthy of your hard-earned money, others are just lame. What makes the difference? The illustrators. Here are three that I think are very much worth adding to your personal Christmas picture book library. (What? You don't have a personal Christmas picture book library? Where have you been? It's the "now" thing. Get yours started with one of these.)

Mary Englebreit, who I've previously mentioned as one of my favorite illustrators, has created an oversized picture book filled with her wonderful characters. As with all her works, she pays attention to the details. You'll find elves, fairies, mice and other fun Christmas decor tucked into every corner. (Look for the mouse as he peeks from his hiding places.) You'll also find her traditional borders, bright colors, and even her "trademark" Scotty dog festooning the pages.

Bruce Whatley, who I also featured previously, has a beautiful version of this story. I mean, just look at that cover. The inside is just as well done. I love Whatley's style, the expressions he creates on his people and animals. Some people think they're a little over the top, but I love them. And I love his use of light as it plays across his scenes, his rich, bright colors, and again, the attention to detail.

Jan Brett is another of my favorite illustrators. Her style is a little softer than the other two, but just as entertaining. Brett is know for her highly detailed illustrations and fun characters that you track through the story in the sidebars of her pages. (See illustration below.) In this one, we're watching the antics of two of Santa's elves who sneak aboard the sleigh and make the trip with him.

If you love this book, don't click "Buy Now" just yet. Wait until tomorrow, when I talk about a few more Jan Brett Christmas books you'll want to add to the shopping cart.

(If this image is too small, click on it for a larger view.)

Now playing on my iPod: Christmas Through Your Eyes performed by Gloria Estefan

1 comment:

Julie Wright said...

I remember the day my grandma and I walked to the store. I was seven. She bought me a paperback book of the Night Before Christmas. I still have it and the paper cover has a little wear from almost thirty years of use, but I love that little book. I think maybe my kids need a trip to the store for their own copies. These artists look like they've done the book justice.