cover image The Night Before Christmas

The Night Before Christmas

Clement Clarke Moore, , illus. by Gennady Spirin. . Cavendish, $16.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-7614-5298-0

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.)