One of my favourite treats in the run up to Christmas is curling up in front of the Christmas tree with a hot beverage (or a cheeky cocktail) and watching a Christmas movie. I am properly into films at this time of the year, and in addition to the ten I listed in my post last year, there are several others that get trotted out ever December. Gone With the Wind. The Sound of Music. Mary Poppins. And The Nightmare Before Christmas.
The Nightmare Before Christmas is such a wonderful, heartwarming tale, as Jack Skellington tries to bring his own special magic to Christmas. Inventive, silly, creepy and heartwarming, it’s a sweet and cosy tale with just enough darkness to avoid the saccharine-ness of some festive fare. I was delighted, then, when I learned that Penguin was publishing a picture book of the story on the Picture Puffin imprint, with words and illustrations by Tim Burton, the film’s auteur.
Much like the film, the book is dark and funny, gruesome and unusual. The verse of the narrative is quite good, but the illustrations are beautiful – eyecatching and gorgeously rendered. As to the plot, it follows much the same story as the film, and of the characters, Zero the ghost dog is still my favourite.
This would be a lovely gift for a fan of the film or an older primary child. Wee ones might find the assembled ghouls and goblins of Halloweenland a little upsetting. Of course each child will have their own worries and wobbles in this area – I’ve known fearless three-year-olds who would have loved this story, and ten-year-olds that find fantasy horror really gets to them (I type as a soul who screamed out loud at one point during one of the Harry Potter and the Cursed Child plays. I wear my wuss colours on my sleeve!). This is a great, entertaining read, calling to mind the tone and feel of Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes, with a dollop of festive cheer and a generous helping of Burton magic. I think The Nightmare Before Christmas would be a lovely gift or pre-Christmas treat to enjoy in the lead up to the festivities.
Disclaimer: I was given a copy of the book in order to review – all opinions, thoughts, and asides on being a big old wuss are entirely my own.