Booklist magazine has announced the winners of their Top of the List for 2013. The titles are selected from the Editor’s Choice picks in several categories. Here are the winners for the youth categories:
Boxers and Saints by Gene Luen Yang
Becoming Ben Franklin: How a Candle-Maker’s Son Helped Light the Flame of Liberty by Russell Freedman
YOUTH PICTURE BOOK
Locomotive by Brian Floca
The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black, read by Christine Lakin (links to the print version)
The Night Before Christmas by Clement Clarke Moore, illustrated by Christine Brallier
Following the classic Christmas tale, this version of the story is made special by the illustrations. Brallier has created fifteen stained glass illustrations for the book. They range from holiday mantles to close ups of the reindeer and of course Santa Claus. Santa does not wear a red hat here but instead has the robes of an English Santa Claus. It makes the feel all the more timeless and special.
Throughout, Brallier has small touches that are worth finding. I was entranced by her use of smaller mosaic pictures on the walls as art. She also includes decorations on blankets and tassels as well as snowflakes in the snow and stars in the sky. Though the art is done in such a hard medium, there is no feeling of the limitations put on the art by that. In fact, the depth of color and the texture of the mosaic glass add much to the book.
My only quibble would be that I’d love to have had an illustrator’s note at the end of the book about her process in creating the illustrations. I’d love to have a sense of their scale. Happily, details like this are available on the author’s blog.
A gorgeous new version of a Christmas classic, this one is worth sharing as a holiday treat. Appropriate for ages 4-7.
Reviewed from copy received from the illustrator.