The Night Before Christmas – In Texas That Is
- 1952 Leon A. Harris
- Illustrated by Meg Wohlberg
- Pelican Publishing Company
One of our very first neighbors gave this book to the kiddo back in the baby days, after finding out my husband and I were both raised in Texas. We’d never heard of it before, but after our kid’s first Christmas it’s become a tradition to read it every December. Apparently, it’s also a song by Gene Autry, as I just found out when I looked up the book today, so now we’re going to sing it every year too!
The illustrations and the colors are so good in this thing, like the graphics or whatever. It reminds me of Argento’s Suspiria in a way, with the bold dashes of reds and very deliberate color tones. I know it’s weird to compare a wholesome ‘50’s kid’s Christmas book with ‘77’s Suspiria, but there you have it. It’s especially surprising considering how corny the ‘50’s aesthetic was in general, then you get this angular, sharp looking Christmas book. It perfectly captures the look of winter in the desert, too. The color choices feel cold and hard and sandy.
The poem inside has that Kenny Rodgers vibe. It’s cute without being too darling. So familiar too, for those of us that grew up knowing an old rugged cowboy or two. Maybe it’s a Texas thing.
Anyway, if you’re looking to read something to your kiddo that is traditional yet not done to death, this old book is a good choice, and looks great on your bookshelf.