'Twas the Night Before Christmas

'Twas the Night Before Christmas

Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas

By Anonymous; Matt Tavares (Illustrator)

Candlewick, Hardcover, 9780763615857, 32pp.

Publication Date: October 1, 2002


Dramatic, authentically rendered monochrome illustrations, accented with gold foil, bring a Christmas classic to life.

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 SENTINEL in 1823, a plumper, merrier St. Nick was born, transformed into the sleigh-riding, chimney-diving, jolly old elf we now call Santa Claus.

This immensely popular, hugely influential poem - better known by its first line, " ’Twas the night before Christmas" - now gets its just treatment as an American icon. Featuring gorgeous monochrome illustrations that are painstakingly true to pre-Victorian times, this definitive edition reflects the original spelling and punctuation - and is published anonymously, just as it was in 1823, in keeping with the controversy over who really wrote this marvelous work.

About the Author

Matt Tavares is the author-illustrator of ZACHARY'S BALL. While researching the elegantly detailed illustrations in ’TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS, he studied the Gibson House, a brownstone in Boston’s historic Back Bay, and also spent time in the decorative arts wing of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. "As a child," he recalls, "I would lie quietly in bed on Christmas Eve, unable to sleep, listening carefully for any sign that Santa Claus and his reindeer might be on the roof. There were times when I was sure I heard sleigh bells. But I never experienced the thrill of actually seeing him come down the chimney. Maybe someday. . . ."