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"The Night Before Christmas" in Picture Books

December 5, 2023

If, like me, you grew up in the United States, chances are you are familiar with "'Twas the Night Before Christmas." Written by Clement Clarke Moore, it was first published in 1823 as "A Visit from St. Nicholas." In the now 200 years since its publication, it has become a beloved staple of many a holiday celebration.

This classic poem has inspired many picture book creators. Some have given us new illustrations to bring it to life, while others have put their own spin on the well-known text. And we have many of them in our catalog

Image of text from first published version  of "A Visit from St. Nicholas" by Clement Clarke Moore
Text from first published version of "'Twas the Night Before Christmas."

If you are interested in a traditional retelling of "Twas the Night Before Christmas," we have many books to fit the bill, including a version illustrated by the famed children's book author and illustrator Tomie dePaola

But perhaps you want some unconventional illustrations to go with the classic poem. How about richly detailed photographs of teddy bears? 

Or adorable Weimaraner dogs? 

Maybe LEGOs are more your speed.  

Many writers have used the familiar rhythms of  "'Twas the Night Before Christmas" to create new poems that both pay homage and reinterpret the classic text. One of my favorites, La noche before Three Kings Day, was just published this year. It centers on an extended Puerto Rican family preparing to celebrate Three Kings Day. Full of fun, love, and sprinkled with Spanish, this book is a must read.

What the Dinosaurs Did the Night Before Christmas made me laugh out loud! In this reimagining of Moore's poem, dinosaur action figures get up to all sorts of holiday hijinks. 

Frankenstein's Fright Before Christmas puts a Spooky Season spin and includes all sorts of friendly monsters in on the fun of waiting for St. Nick! 

La Nochebuena is a more traditional rendering of the classic poem, but translated into Spanish! 

Check out the catalog widget below. There are all sorts of ways to read and experience The Night Before Christmas. You might find a new favorite version to enjoy during the holiday! 

The Night Before Christmas in Picture Books

Klem-Mari Cajigas


In a former life, Klem-Marí was a Religious Studies scholar. She much prefers being the Family Literacy Coordinator for Bringing Books to Life! She wants you to read and share books with the children in your life, and for those children to see you to read as well. Originally from Puerto Rico, Klem-Marí also enjoys her cat, baking, yoga, and the works of Octavia Butler.