Reviews for Night Before Christmas


Booklist Reviews 2006 September #2
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. ((Reviewed September 15, 2006)) Copyright 2006 Booklist Reviews

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2007 Spring
Clement Moore's classic Christmas poem is illustrated with Spirin's formal, elegant paintings. The art is small, detailed, and heavy (e.g., the reindeer are ornately adorned). Children may not warm up to this Saint Nicholas; the book is more likely to appeal to nostalgic adults or Spirin's fans. Copyright 2007 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

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Kirkus Reviews 2006 November #1
A most unusual title page sets the magical tone for this distinctive interpretation of Moore's classic Christmas poem. A full moon on the left-hand page encloses the author and illustrator information, with the volume's title spelled out across the bottom of the spread by the twisted branches of snow-topped trees. Santa and his reindeer soar overhead all the way to the edge of the right-hand page, leading the reader right into the story. The narrator of this version is a wide-eyed young boy who peers out the window in amazement and then creeps down the stairs to meet St. Nicholas as he fills the stockings. Spirin's sumptuous illustrations with touches of gold have a subtle glow provided by firelight or moonlight, with striking shadows courtesy of the full moon. A wordless spread in the center of the volume offers a dramatic pause with a full view of the sleigh and the reindeer in flight, golden sleigh bells glistening. The Victorian setting is complemented by an old-fashioned typeface and a tall, painted clock noting the midnight hour next to each verse of the poem. (author's note) (Picture book. 3-7) Copyright Kirkus 2006 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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Library Media Connection - November/December 2006
Who isn't familiar with this poem first published in December 23, 1823 by the Troy Sentinel? Moore's description of St. Nicholas has long helped paint the picture many of us have in our minds of Santa. Now comes a new version from Gennady Spirin; he has made few changes from the original text. Spirin uses watercolor and colored pencils to create his very classic-feeling illustrations. While beautiful, the illustrations do little to enrich the text. For those who need a new version of Moore's tale, Spirin's would be worth considering. Otherwise, enjoy the versions already on your shelves. Additional Selection. Carl A. Harvey II, Library Media Specialist, North Elementary School, Noblesville, Indiana © 2006 Linworth Publishing, Inc.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2006 September #4

Spirin's (The Tale of the Firebird ) luxurious watercolor-and-colored pencil compositions whisk readers to what looks like a snowy New England village in the 1800s for his graceful reimagining of Moore's poem. He renders every chimney, windowpane and bare tree branch with crisp style and care; Saint Nick is effortlessly jolly, donning blue boots with his traditional red fur garb. Each passage opens with a tiny spot illustration, accompanied by a vertical border piece on the side, shaped like a grandfather clock or a bookmark and depicting some village scenery. Youngsters will be pleased that the artist breaks with tradition, casting the narrator as a boy (instead of the father). An edition sure to be cherished, especially by Spirin fans and art lovers. All ages. (Sept.)

[Page 69]. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

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School Library Journal Reviews 2006 October

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

[Page 99]. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

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