The Night Before Christmas
Clement Moore & Holly Hobbie
Little, Brown & Co., 2013 (2013)
Reviewed by Bob Walch
lement C. Moore's classic poem has been a favorite holiday classic for generations. Acclaimed watercolorist Holly Hobbie provides the illustrations for this iconic piece of literature which was written in the early 1820s.
The prospect of illustrating a long-revered classic is intimidating,
' writes the artist. '
You must honor the timeless quality of the piece while somehow making it your own.
o put her artistic mark on the poem, Hobbie calls upon her own home environment and blends the past with the present with interiors and how the characters are decked out. To reflect a more modern family, Mamma's kerchief and father's cap had to go, as Hobbie explained, but Santa himself has a decided classic appearance that reflects a more Victorian celebration.
he artist's approach, utilizing transparent watercolor, pen and ink, and gouache on watercolor paper, captures the warmth and feeling of Christmas Eve. An adorable, thumb sucking, blond toddler wearing blue PJs is introduced into the mix of traditional characters and the child and his gray cat are silent observers of what unfolds downstairs on this wonderful night when Santa visits.
o matter if you already own a copy of this poem or not, this edition featuring Holly Hobbie's art is well worth purchasing and enjoying with other family members. If you are looking for a copy of Moore's work to share for the first time with a young child, this version captures all the visual images the poet creates with his verse. This will also become that special holiday book that you can enjoy for many years to come.
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