Every year we read several versions of “A Visit From St. Nicholas,” the classic poem by Clement Clarke Moore, often called The Night Before Christmas. It’s really interesting to read the same poem over and over, but with different interpretations by various illustrators. Today we read a very beautiful and classically illustrated one alongside the version by Mercer Mayer with his little critters. One was done with oil paints and has a old-time, formal feeling. The other was done in an animated style with animal characters rather than people. The difference in tone is amazing. We talked about illustration and what an illustrator’s job is.
Then I opened up my memory trunk and pulled out a version of the book that I made when I was a little girl. I used a collage style to create illustrations for the poem. It was made with yarn, fabric, glitter, pom-poms – all kinds of little details to make the pictures interesting. The font that’s used on the pages still takes me right back to my childhood. I typed out several lines from the poem on each page, bound it with simple yarn ties, and then kept my little book. My kids loved reading it with me.
For a book project, I typed out the poem, a few lines on each page and had the kids illustrate their own.
Here are a few sample pages from my childhood book:
This little door opens to reveal a little Santa Claus. . .
Here is Rudolph, complete with a yarn harness and glitter embellishments…
All of the blankets on this page were made with small fabric scraps. . .
This project took some time, from reading the different versions, to pouring over my illustrations, to crafting our own, but it was really fun. The kids loved the collage materials instead of just being asked to draw pictures. They are also working on memorizing the entire poem. They would even like to try out some other versions of the poem now. We may read “Cajun Night Before Christmas” next.
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