Another Night Before Christmas by Carol Ann Duffy, illustrated by Rob Ryan (Picador, 2010)
The Advent Calendar is now drawing to a close and I hope this trawl though some seasonal children’s literature has been as enjoyable
for you as it has for me. Today’s calendar slot features a fairly recent publication by Carol Ann Duffy re-telling ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas (see here). I bought this when it was first published as that year’s contribution to the festive library.
In this poem, a small girl decides to stay up late and see if Father Christmas really exists:
On the night before Christmas, a child in a house,
As the whole family slept, behaved just like a mouse…
And crept on soft toes down red-carpeted stairs.
Her hand held the paw of her favourite bear.
It’s a fact that a faraway satellite dish,
Which observes us from space, cannot know what we wish.
Its eye’s empty socket films famine and greed,
But cannot see Santa Claus on Christmas Eve.
Though she lived in an age where celebrity rules
And when most of the people were easily fooled,
By TV and fashion, by money and cars,
The little girl knew that here was a real STAR!
I like the modern twist here of Santa being compared to the twenty-first celebrity culture and coming out as the only true star on the horizon. Duffy captures the magic of Christmas that we as adults would still like to believe in. The black and white illustrations from Rob Ryan are striking: beautifully detailed and magical in themselves.
Only one more day to go…