Saturday, December 24, 2011

12 Days of Christmas Picture Books - The Night Before Christmas

It's Christmas Eve! We can hardly believe it! We're excited to see family and friends, share delicious food, give and receive gifts, and of course re-read all our favorite holiday books.

The past 12 days I've shared some really wonderful picture books. Each title fulfills my goal of providing Sprout with a diverse canon of reading material, showing people of all different races/ethnicities, various cultures, and unique perspectives. And each one of these books was carefully selected because it embodies a different aspect of the holiday season -- joy, kindness, peace, love, hope.

Perhaps none of the titles I've shared does that so well as Rachel Isadora's version of the Clement C. Moore poem, The Night Before Christmas. As she's done with other classic books, Isadora sets her tale in Africa, with all African characters, and sets off the familiar words with her gorgeous mixed-media illustrations. The collage effect she uses creates textures that combine beautifully with her vivid color palette, causing the images to just about jump off the page.

No version I've ever seen captures the spirit, the joy, the pure delight that is childhood at Christmas. Reinventing a classic is always a bit of a risk, but in Isadora's capable hands, the result is simply dazzling. I mean, Santa with dreads? Snow in an African village? How can you fail to be enchanted by that?

Tonight we'll be spending Christmas Eve at home, warm and cozy with a house full of loved ones. And you can be sure we'll be reading this book at bedtime, once Sprout is nestled all snug in his bed.

Merry Christmas to All!

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