Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore and illustrations by Corinne Malvern

 What happens on the night before Christmas? Stockings are hung by the chimney with care, children are nestled all snug in their beds, and there's a visit from St. Nicholas. The poem attributed to Clement C. Moore has gone a long ways towards influencing modern ideas of Christmas and Santa Claus (fun fact: the words Santa Claus aren't used in the poem at all), and in this Little Golden Book edition illustrated by Corinne Malvern you can enjoy all of the sugarplums, all of the reindeer, and all of the Christmas cheer.

I had never realized just how this poem positions Santa as an elf-figure. He has a miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeer; he's called "a right jolly old elf." Sure, he lives at the North Pole and there are elves in his workshop, but I'm much more familiar with him as a man; I've not thought of him as an elf. Are there cultures that do? Anyway. There are a number of other Little Golden Books editions of The Night Before Christmas with different illustrators, but there's something about the old-style illustrations in the Corinne Malvern edition that particularly resonates with me. I like the fashions that the characters wear, and I like the different framing styles that are used around the areas of text.  The edition that I have is slightly older than the one pictured (not the 1949 original, but reissued in 1982), but it looks like it's been republished again in September 2011.The Night Before Christmas isn't something that's been a part of my family traditions to date (unless it's the Sesame Street version that's shown during "A Muppet Family Christmas" - you haven't experienced the poem until you've heard a Two-Headed Monster say "Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night"), but for families looking to start their own traditions, this is a poem and a book with a lot of history behind it.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

Find it at  IndieBound.

Read it with:
Frosty the Snow Man by Annie North Bedford
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer by Robert L. May
The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore and illustrated by Kathy Wilburn

No comments:

Post a Comment