Matt Tavares Books
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Twas the Night Before Christmas clement moore
santa claus
'Twas the Night Before Christmas
Written and Clement C. Moore, illustrated by Matt Tavares

*Starred review in Publisher's Weekly
2002 New England Book Show, Juvenile Category winner
2002 British Book Design and Production Award, shortlisted
The Society of Illustrators "The Original Art" exhibit 2002

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Twas interior pages children were nestled

Santa Claus Twas interior pages

Happy Christmas to all and to all a good

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
in hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there.

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 poem "Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas" written by Clement C. Moore in 1822 and published the next year in the Troy Sentinel, a plumper, merrier St. Nick was born, transformed into the sleigh-riding, chimney-diving jolly old elf we now call Santa Claus.

With gorgeous monochrome illustrations by Matt Tavares that are meticulously true to pre-Victorian times, 'Twas the Night Before Christmas Or Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas honors the poem's original language in a definitive keepsake volume.

Exquisitely detailed drawings by Matt Tavares embody the spirit of a magical night in a lavish, full-size gift edition marking the two-hundredth anniversary of the classic poem.


"These are artworks you can marvel at for long moments. In short, if the poem weren't a classic, this book might make it one."
-Journal Inquirer

"Stark yet lushly textured pencil drawings, recalling the work of Chris Van Allsburg, capture the mystery, surprise and anticipation of what many children consider the most magical night of the year. The finely wrought portraits and shadowy, snow-covered Victorian setting will enchant."
*Publisher's Weekly (starred review)

"A Santa portrait forms the centerpiece of this appealing volume's antique-looking board cover, which is framed with decorative gold-colored embossing meant to suggest the lavishness of Victorian-era gift books."
-Leonard Marcus, New York Times Book Review

"The poem remains anonymous, but Tavares must take full credit for his wonderful illustrations; restrained by his use of black and white, the images nevertheless possess a vitality and realism which endow them with an almost three-dimensional quality.... This has long been a magical poem for children worldwide, and Matt Tavares's work will captivate a new generation ready to be enchanted by the perpetual mystery of Christmas.  -Kirkus Reviews, UK

"Tavares provides monochromatic pencil illustrations with old-fashioned details and a period setting complementary with the poem's original period, but his sophisticated perspectives and cinematic lighting pull the whole into the modern era . . . The moody illustrations suggest the drama and excitement of the magical night in an unusual way."
-Kirkus Reviews

"Clearly designed to be the treasure of a Christmas collection, Tavares' brilliant pencil drawings transport the reader to the magic world of Christmas past..."
 -Tampa Tribune

"...a beautiful version of 'Twas the Night Before Christmas, with the celebrated illustrations of Matt Tavares. Don't be put off by the fact that it's in black-and-white: This art is so stunning that children, and parents, will find the book much more appealing than a cheesy color version."
-Entertainment Weekly

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'TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS. Illustrations copyright 2002 Matt Tavares. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Candlewick Press, Inc., Somerville, MA.