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‘Twas the Night Before Christmas 2022 Book Review

Twas the Night Before Christmas 2022 – It’s not very often that you get a revitalization of a 199 year old poem that uses the exact wording, spelling and punctuation of the original, but somehow Matt Tavares has done it. Tavares is beginning to make a tradition out of publishing a new Christmas book each year. He’s already published Red and Lulu and Dasher.

Twas the Night Before Christmas 2022 Book Review

The Story

The book begins with an Illustrator’s Note that students will be fascinated with. Indeed, it inspired me to learn more about the tale. The note details the history of the poem and it’s questionable authorship. Was it Clement C. Moore who is listed as the author of this book or someone else? The note tells students that the words and punctuation in this version are true to the original. This invites students to notice differences in this version from what they may have heard before.

The poem includes some surprising differences from what you may think you know about Christmas. Ever heard of the reindeer Dunder and Blixem? Children may be interested to know or wonder about why the names of these reindeer changed to Donner and Blixen in the current vernacular. The book does not say, but a lively discussion is sure to ensue from that one change alone.

A fun reading of a slightly different version of the poem from actors and British Royalty

The Illustrations

The illustrations are everything readers have come to expect from Matt Tavares’ work. The black and white nature and the details of the characters’ faces are reminiscent of The Mysteries of Harris Burdick, published by Chris Van Allsburg. The black and white nature of the illustrations also add to the idea that the poem was first written nearly 200 years ago. The illustrations thus act as the perfect complement to the text.


Many kids have heard bits and pieces of this poem through popular culture. Few have actually heard it in its entirety. Matt Tavares takes Clement C. Moore’s original text and adds a note that will inspire interest and curiosity out of any kid (from 1 to 92!). This book is a perfect addition to any holiday collection! Grades Kindergarten through 5th grade will really enjoy this story the most.

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Hey there! I’m Josh from Picture Book Brain here to share only the best literature for you to use with your students. If you are looking for a specific book, use the search bar below to check my archives. Glad you’re here, and glad to help you!

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