Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Parents' Choice Awards : Books : Picture Books
The Night Before Christmas

The Night Before Christmas

Fall 2006 Picture Books
Ages: 12 & Up
Author: Clement C. Moore
Illustrator: Richard Jesse Watson
ISBN: 978-0-06-075741-0
Hardcover Price: $16.99
The Night Before Christmas gets a jolt of whimsical modernity in the hands of Richard Jesse Watson. One glance at the endpapers tells you that this isn't your typical Santa story. The elves span all ethnicities and occupations—there's a burly African-American elf with a Santa tattoo, an Asian elf with an origami bird, a dreadlocked elf in Rastafarian colors, and a bearded one with the air of a philosopher, to name a few. Watson depicts Santa as an aviator, and gives us a glimpse at the high-tech dashboard of his sleigh. The colors are richly saturated, and Watson's faces look almost like photos. In keeping with the modern updates, Watson forgoes historical notes in favor of a coffeehouse “Q & A with St. Nick.” Some readers may find this treatment of a Christmas classic a bit too silly, while others will delight in Watson's offbeat humor.
Zarina Mullan Plath   ©2006 Parents' Choice
Zarina Mullan Plath has undergraduate degrees in both biology and English. Her interests include cookbooks/culinary history, South Asian literature (especially in regards to South Asians in America), and, of course, children's literature. Her poetry is included in the anthology Sweeping Beauty (U. of Iowa Press, 2005). Zarina lives in Central Illinois with her husband, two children, and assorted pets.

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