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September 26 at 5:49 PM Facebook· Twas the Night Before Christmas is the most published and recited poem in the library of English literature. For the very first time, the poem’s own story is presented. It’s a luscious, entertaining tome that took ten years to create. Bravo, author and editor, Pamela McColl! And little ol' me opens the chapter on “Poetic Truth”, nestled between the likes of Walt Disney, Bruno Bettelheim, and J. R. R. Tolkien. “Fairy tales can teach us to be brave, to love, to forgive," I wrote five years ago. "Because they are so bright and huge, fairy tales help a child develop internally, much more than history or a standard drama.” Thank you, Pamela, I am honored! "Fairy tales aren't real, but they are true." Of course, that can be said of the best fiction. - David Paul Kirkpatrick, Former president Paramount Pictures, and President Production Disney and Touchstone.
Thank you Thank you Thank you PGK - Pamela McColl
David Paul Kirkpatrick with Joany Kane - with Twas The Night - The Art and History of the Classic Ch
IR RATING:5.0Pamela McColl's TWAS THE NIGHT: The Art and History of the Classic Christmas Poem, is packed full of vintage illustrations and lesser known historical details that make the book a bundle of perennial joy, for believers and non-believers alike. IR ApprovedHistory
All readers could ever wish to learn--in pictures and prose--about the world’s definitive festive verse.
Across fourteen chapters, Pamela McColl takes a deep dive into the story–indeed, stories – behind The Night Before Christmas, the poem that is now firmly embedded in our collective consciousness. In the first chapter, the author paints a broad picture of the background to the poem, which was originally called A Visit from St Nicholas. The reader soon learns that the publication of this book is very timely – it coincides with the bicentenary of the poem’s recited debut on Christmas Eve 1822, followed by its initial printing a year later. The poem that has delighted children for nigh on two centuries appears to have a lively and frequently edited past. McColl outlines the controversy behind the poem’s authorship as well as illuminating the cultural history of this seasonal favorite.
The poem’s appeal to children is made clear from the outset, with the author pointing to the tone and rhythm of the verse, and giving an insight into the benevolence that underpins the content. McColl explains that TWAS THE NIGHT differs from previous representations of St Nicholas due to the absence of punishment: we learn that earlier portrayals depict the great man as wielding a birchen rod and passing judgment on children’s behavior. Such explanations are supported by thorough scholarship and literary excerpts, as well as a proliferation of glorious images, accurately described in the book as a ‘treasure trove of vintage illustrations’. It is clear that McColl has extensively researched her subject over a lengthy period of time; her enthusiasm for this poem also shines through in her impassioned prose.
One of the many delightful aspects of this book is its organization, which helpfully enables the reader to ‘dip in’ at will. For example, should one wish to find out more about Clement Clarke Moore, the man credited with writing the poem, then there is a whole chapter dedicated to him. The chapter entitled ‘The Enchanted Past’ is particularly enlightening, as well as being entertaining. From start to finish, reading this book is a little like being escorted on a magical journey through time, with minutiae of detail and accompanying visuals at every juncture. Children, of course, will love the carefully curated illustrations, while adults will appreciate the breadth and depth of research that has gone into the making of this book. History enthusiasts will undoubtedly prize the skillful assembling of such a wide range of source material, resulting in a coherent story of the poem’s life. Each source is clearly referenced for the reader’s benefit.
Pamela McColl’s TWAS THE NIGHT: The Art and History of the Classic Christmas Poem, is packed full of vintage illustrations and lesser known historical details that make the book a bundle of perennial joy, for believers and non-believers alike.
~Amanda Ellison for IndieReader
" A delightful and informative exploration of “A Visit From St. Nicholas” for the holiday season. " Kirkus Reviews
"McColl’s book, which seeks to present “selected images, along with dozens of literary excerpts, to illustrate the way in which…’Twas the Night, drew inspiration from the historical record of artistic expression and winter celebrations in western culture,” does just that. Though mainly told through quotes or passages from others, with some of her own observations sprinkled in between, the author’s commemoration is a detailed, thorough, and beautiful work for lovers of Christmas and fans of the holiday’s most famous poem." Kirkus Reviews
Thank you Midwest Book Review
Review credit: D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review and/or D. Donovan, Editor, Donovan's Literary Services, as the review will appear in both places).
Readers looking for a keepsake holiday celebration suitable for individual study and family sharing alike will find the perfect combination of art and scholarship in Twas the Night: The Art and History of the Classic Christmas Poem.
The book is an unexpected treasure trove, surprising because, with so very many books centered on Christmas traditions and history, it's refreshing to see an artistic and literary review of a classic poem that breathes new life into traditional perceptions.
Pamela McColl achieves this goal by reviewing the history of the world's most cited poem. While one might think this should have been done already, over the years, if not time and again, it might come as a surprise to note that hers is the first in-depth coverage of the poem's origins and incarnations.
One of the foundations of Twas the Night's strength is its inclusion of hundreds of vintage images and works of art which accompany the analysis.
The classic Christmas poem A Visit From St. Nicholas (also known as Twas The Night Before Christmas) is on the cusp of enjoying two bicentennial mile markers, so this is the perfect time to absorb its ongoing impact and alluring history.
These aren't just McColl's reflections. Dozens of excerpts from a wide range of literary sources illustrate the centuries of influence that birthed this poem and others which continue to drive its classic popularity through the years.
Tracing these influences also results in a deeper understanding of Christmas culture, holiday traditions, and the art, publications, individual influencers, and evolution of the holiday spirit.
Readers also likely won't anticipate the degree and depth of American and world history that enter the stage of this poem's origins, but McColl adds all these elements to vastly expand Twas the Night's many facets: "At the 1809 New York Historical Society St. Nicholas Banquet a toast was read: “To the memory of St. Nicholas. May the virtuous habit simple manners of our Dutch ancestors be not lost in the luxuries and refinement of the present time.” The interest in the revival or establishment of Saint Nicholas reflected Pintard’s desire to create a sense of identify for the city."
The result begins with the poem's origins, but it's really a representation of changing artistic, cultural, social, and historical atmosphere swirling around the poem that offers a deeper understanding of not just its history, but the changing social focuses that kept it relevant against the sands of time.
Any collection looking for superior, solid, artistic, historical examinations of Christmas must include Twas the Night as a highly recommended mainstay. Whether a library is focused on art, history, popular culture, or Christmas, Twas the Night represents an outstanding work of literature and a compelling read the entire family can enjoy.