"Lushly textured pencil drawings capture the mystery, surprise, and anticipation of . . . the most magical night of the year." PUBLISHERS WEEKLY
Once upon a time, children imagined St. Nicholas as a stern, skinny bishop who was as likely to dole out discipline as Christmas presents. But thanks to the anonymous publication of the poem "Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas" in the TROY SENTINAL in 1823, a plumper, merrier St. Nick was born, transformed into the sleigh-riding, chimney-diving, jolly old elf we now call Santa Claus. Complemented by gorgeous monochrome illustrations that are meticulously true to pre-Victorian times, this definitive volume of 'TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS, honoring the poem's original language, is now available in a compact gift edition.
Whose tiny faces are peeking out from Santa's golden sleigh? Yikes! It's two of Santa's elves who are Christmas Eve stowaways. Beloved illustrator Jan Brett's version of The Night Before Christmas lets these two mischievous elves add their rambunctious spirit to this familiar 1823 rhyming story. Here, Santa and his reindeer land on the snowy roof of a Victorian mansion in New England. While Santa delivers the toys inside, the elves and the reindeer frolic around the lawn, as a pig (earmarked for a girl named Jan) and a few alphabet blocks spill out of sacks into the snow. Santa swiftly reins in the mischief-makers and "away they all flew like the down on a thistle." Brett's richly illustrated borders are lavishly decorated with antique toys, ornaments, and sweet treats, all surrounded with twisting golden ribbons. They also give us a window on the mansion's inhabitants, including the children watching Santa's departure in awe. A sugarplum of a Christmas story, just right for a reading before "a long winter's nap." (Click to see a sample spread. Illustrations ©1998 by Jan Brett. Published by G.P. Putnam's Sons, a division of Penguin Putnam Books for Young Readers.) (Ages 3 to 6) --Marcie Bovetz