Christmas Eve is finally here, and what would this countdown be without a Night Before Christmas book? Thankfully, the world of children’s literature never runs out of new illustrated versions of the famous poem. This is my newest vintage find for this particular day, and it is a good one. The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore, pictures by Gyo Fujikawa, 1961.

Not much more can be said of the well-known Moore poem, so let’s focus on this wonderful art. Fujikawa is a favorite of mine and she never disappoints. Beginning with the end papers:

And honestly, one of my favorite spreads in the book, the title page showing the outside and inside of the home:

I really could just stop there and be quite content to study this book. I adore this home. I love to count all the inhabitants, and admire the decorations from the “home sweet home” sign above a door, to the different bed frames, all the way to the suitcases stored in the teensy attic. This story is already made on the gorgeous title page.

Within the poem, we meet a family with six sleepy children all waiting for Santa.

Fujikawa’s Santa is certainly a jolly looking elf. He is small and round, twinkly and spritely. an excellent version of the magical character.

From his “…dash away all” to his “to all a good night” this Santa is quite adorable, adding a more whimsical edge to an old poem. This edition of Moore’s words is an excellent way to prepare for the final day in our countdown and Christmas Eve, helping put those visions of sugar-plums into reader’s heads. Merry Christmas Eve!