'Twas the Night Before Christmas

Book review by
Darienne Stewart, Common Sense Media
'Twas the Night Before Christmas Book Poster Image
Gimmick doesn’t enhance holiday classic.

Parents say

age 2+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value
Positive Messages

The father timidly spies on Santa, who acknowledges him wordlessly but kindly.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Santa, of course, is a cheerful, energetic character.

Violence & Scariness

What parents need to know

Parents need to know there’s nothing of concern in this rendering of the well-known holiday poem. Young children may need some help understanding some of the language -- the poem was written nearly 200 years ago -- but they’ll have no trouble understanding the story. Santa smokes a pipe as he works.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written by[email protected] November 16, 2017

An absolute classic

This is a poem that every little boy and every little girl should have read to them the night before Christmas. Magical and brilliant imagery.
Adult Written byLowe's man June 30, 2016

May or may not appeal to today's kids, but no problem areas either.

While I can't say anything about the edition to which you're referring, I'm familiar with the original classic. While today's youngsters ma... Continue reading

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

What's the story?

The text is the treasured poem by Clement Clarke Moore, “A Visit from St. Nicholas.” On Christmas Eve, as a family settles down to sleep, the father hears a noise outside and spies Santa’s sleigh in the sky. Moore’s description of the wordless encounter between the father and Santa by the Christmas tree has become an enduring portrait of Santa Claus.

Is it any good?

“A Visit from St. Nicholas” has been reproduced in a great many forms; and here it is packaged with what the publishers call AniMotion technology; unfortunately, it just doesn't work. 

Many of the pages feature a full-color image that appears to move beneath a black-striped layer of acetate. The technique is reminiscent of a zoetrope. As readers turn the pages, stars twinkle, a cat startles, Santa’s belly ripples with laughter. It’s a fun idea, but the animations are dark and hard to see, and the static images are rather ho-ho-hum. The novelty -- and appeal -- is short-lived. The static illustrations are pleasant enough, but the moving images are difficult to see.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about similes and descriptive language. Identify them throughout the poem -- cheeks like roses, nose like a cherry, etc. Try writing a short Christmas story together and see what similes you can come up with.

  • Families can also talk about books you always read together. Is a version of this story a holiday tradition? Are there movies or TV specials you always watch together? What makes them stand the test of time?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love the holidays

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