The Night Before Christmas

Written by Kes Gray

Illustrated by Claire Powell


If you think that the title of this book sounds familiar, you are not wrong. “the night before the night before Christmas” (“that’s Christmas Eve Eve”) is a fun new sister of the famous poem “the night before Christmas” by Clement Clarke Moore.

The story begins on Christmas Eve eve and things are looking very busy in Father Christmas’ workshop. Lists are being checked, toys are being build, sleighs readied, reindeer prepared. It’s a wonder Father Christmas doesn’t forget anything… or does he? The book is written in rhyme which I always enjoy in a children’s book.

It’s not too difficult to see why Waterstones chose this book as one of its top 10 festive children’s reads this year.


Kes Gray is a best selling author of the very popular Oi Frog! series. He has won many awards throughout his book writing career, including beating JK Rowling in 2001 to win the Red House Children’s Book Award. Wowee.

He has a fabulous page on his website called “the Happy Book!” where he has collated all of the amazing things his three children have said to him over the years. The questions and one liners are so funny they had me laughing out loud. If you want a bit of happiness in your day, go and have a little read through them.


This book has been illustrated by Claire Powell. Claire is an illustrator and picture book maker who started out in the world of graphic design.

I couldn’t find any information about how the illustrations were made so I messaged Claire to ask how she went about creating such lovely drawings. I was so happy when she replied. Claire drew rough drawings by hand and then coloured the illustrations in digitally. She said that there were many late nights and that is not hard to imagine when you look at her attention to detail and the sheer number of elves and toys she had to draw. Claire said that she hid a few of the elves on one particular workshop page and we had fun trying to find them.

The workshop pages are our favourite illustrations in the book. They are so beautiful. The colours and details are lovely, you can spend ages looking at the different toys and elves.

I didn’t realise this when I bought the two Christmas books, but, Claire has worked with Mark Sperring (the author of “Mince Spies” our book of the month). Their book is called “Princess Scallywag and the brave brave knight” which I think I will have to add to my book wish list.


A lovely Christmas to read with your little ones on the countdown to Christmas.

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