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’TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS by Clement Clarke Moore Kirkus Star


by Clement Clarke Moore, illustrated by Christopher Wormell

Age Range: 3 - 6

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-7624-2717-8
Publisher: Running Press Kids

Most illustrated versions of the classic Christmas poem depict a jolly St. Nicholas and a Victorian household full of cozy charm and sugarplum delights. Wormell offers a fresh interpretation featuring a muted palette with his striking linoleum-block prints. His illustrations are spare and focused, with thick black outlines around the characters and inky black filling in details within the frame. His Santa has a mysterious, almost dark quality, very unlike the grandfatherly version in most editions, and might be just a little bit imposing for younger preschoolers. The volume is attractively and thoughtfully designed, with an old-fashioned typeface that is an excellent match to Wormell’s style. Key phrases within the text are set in capital letters, and the curving letters provide a subtle link to the lines within the illustrations. The simple but bold illustrations and varied perspectives make this a fine choice for reading to a group. Additional exemplary features are the artist’s sketches used as endpapers and an author’s note explaining the controversy surrounding the authorship of the poem. (Picture book. 3-6)