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The Night Before Christmas Hardcover – September 1, 2006

63 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

PreS Up–Spirin's richly colored and ornate colored-pencil and watercolor illustrations opposite each page of text place this version of the classic poem in a nostalgic, 18th-century European town. Resembling medieval illuminated manuscripts, an embellished capital letter or a fanciful scene or figure in the first word of each verse sets the mood for each page. Readers are drawn into the magical wonder of the season through the artist's skilled use of color, detail, and shadow. The traditional portrayal of Santa as a jolly old elf is more apparent in this rendition than in other current editions. Special notes on the last page give a brief history of the poem and reveal a minor dispute over its true authorship. A warm, inviting, and beautifully illustrated book.–Maureen Wade, Los Angeles Public Library
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Spirin stays close to the conventional, nostalgic views, setting his scenes in a yesteryear European village visited by a Santa straight from central casting, all sparkling blue eyes and bushy white beard. Dabbed with gold and scrolled with fine brushwork, the paintings beautifully contrast the colors of moonlight and firelight, while the lustrous scenes of the reindeer team, pulling its ornate sled, imbue the title with an Old World, fairy-tale richness. A final note addresses the recent controversy over Moore's authorship of the poem. Gillian Engberg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 5 and up
  • Grade Level: Kindergarten - 3
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Two Lions; First Edition edition (September 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0761452982
  • ISBN-13: 978-0761452980
  • Product Dimensions: 10.3 x 8.3 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #193,441 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By motivated mom on December 16, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I have several versions of this wonderful old tale---even those saved from my own childhood. But when I saw this for sale at Union Station, I had to have it. The illustrations are breathtaking! Look for the shadows that Mr Spirin, a prize winning Russian artist, paints into his scenes. Have you ever seen the underneath of Santa's richy embellished sleigh as it is "parked" on a rooftop? Look for the cats who are also coming downstairs to "see what was the matter". My kids are teens now, but I bought it for them for when they have kids. It is the very essence of the Spirit of Santa's yearly wintertime journey!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By JBebe VINE VOICE on April 9, 2014
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is a beloved classic Christmas poem, and I will agree that this version has been illustrated beautifully - the illustrations are interesting and old-looking and lovely. However, I don't think it is deserving of such high ratings. Here are a few reasons why:

The FIRST thing I noticed and was disappointed about was that there is a LOT of text on each page. I think this makes it hard for little ones (or for older ones) to pay attention. I think it would have been a lot nicer to have a little less text per illustration.

The font is hard to read.

There is a little sidebar picture on each page with a little clock and a vintage-looking outdoor Christmas scene. I think this is cool; however, it would have been a LOT neater to have something in the picture change from page to page. It has the exact same picture on every. single. page. I think the illustrator missed out on the potential of this book in this way.

For the detail of the pictures, I would have liked the book to be a bit larger, or to have less white on the pages (larger pictures).
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Format: Hardcover
Ages 4-8 will relish a new spin on Clement Clarke Moore's classic, which uses Gennady Spirin's lovely, artistic panels to illustrate the simple holiday classic. While the story's been reprinted hundreds of times so undoubtedly you have at least one version in your library, this NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS provides some classic, lovely embellishments perfect for libraries seeking something fresh and appealing.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By KR on June 8, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The artwork is very good - a treat for the eyes. The poem, is, of course, iconic. I did not know the original poem had slightly different names for the reindeer, which gives this version an old-fashioned feel.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By OLT TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 6, 2014
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
(4.5 stars) I would give 5 stars to this beautifully illustrated 2006 rendering of Clement Clarke Moore's 1823 THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS with illustrations by Gennady Spirin, Russian-born artist living in Princeton, New Jersey, except for the fact that I'm not sure the illustrations will appeal all that much to young children.

That's not to say that the illustrations are not beautiful. They are exquisitely detailed and artistically rendered in muted color, in an old-school style that makes them look as if they could have been the original ones to accompany the poem when it first appeared in the 1820s.

So this is a 5-star book for my taste, reduced to 4 stars to take into account that the illustrations may not be vivid, clear and striking enough to appeal to younger children and I got the book to read to my grandchildren at Christmastime.

(BTW, some reviewers have noted that two reindeer names, "Donder" and "Blitzen", are "Dunder" and "Blixem" in this book. I wondered why and learned by googling that the names here were the original ones.)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Marie Antoinette VINE VOICE on April 1, 2014
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
As one who is fond of the Christmas holiday and everything that goes with it (well almost, except for the crowed stores), I was looking forward to getting this book. The illustrations are gorgeous and you just can't go wrong with this classic holiday story that has been handed down from one generation to the next. Every page is worth savoring and I would recommend it not just for children but also for adults. But I'm giving this book four stars instead of five because I felt that this type of book should have been larger and I would have liked to see the illustrations a little bit brighter.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By V. O. Ritter VINE VOICE on April 8, 2014
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is a very nice, hard bound book that tells the story of the Night Before Christmas in nine pages of text and ten pages of illustrations. It can be read to small children in about five minutes with time to comment on the illustrations. That is about right for a young child's attention span. I hope to start a Christmas tradition by reading this story to my young grandchildren, and this book is perfect for that purpose.
As a bonus there is a brief history of the poem on the last two pages, that I found quite interesting.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Gennady Spirin does not need a positive review from me nor anyone else as his work has long spoken for itself. A throwback to the Golden Age of American Illustration Mr Spirin is not to be bested in his fascinating attention to detail or imaginative narrative compositions that allow a Viewer to simply become part of the scene.

That being said, I have one observation about this series of illustrations for the traditional poem, The Night Before Christmas, that prevents a recommendation with 5 stars. It is the odd decision to place these illustration panels, apparently penciled in on a soft gray paper, within enormous warm white pages in which they both get lost and overwhelmed. Yes, the pages are a very warm and appealing creamy white, lovely choice, and the typeface equally appropriate, but when one sees the gray 'hole' the panels sink into it is very unsettling. This is due partly because Spirin has no true white accents much less sizable areas of white anywhere in his illustrations.

This may be due to the scenes happening at night, but, all the same the result is a 'grayed out' look to each panel. As the little boy peers out the window casement, shadows of reindeer hooves splayed across the masonry above his head, one can see that there is not one true white, not in the snow under his fingers, not in his cap, not even in the teeth or eyes. Quite odd considering the cover has true white accents in Santa's furn and beard, and it makes for a wonderful contrast to the cold blueish snow below the sleigh!
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