Friday, 4 October 2013

The Nightmare Before Christmas (20th Anniversary Edition) by Tim Burton (Disney Press)

The Nightmare Before Christmas
(20th Anniversary)

Written and Illustrated by
Tim Burton

Published by Disney Press

We've loved the movie, we've hoovered up the merchandise, we've listened to and sung along with the soundtrack on a loop constantly - and each year on Halloween and at Christmas we dig the movie out and play it - but what of the book? What of the original story that Tim Burton wrote and illustrated long before the movie became such a cult classic and Jack Skellington's face graced many a goth's messenger bag or hoodie?

What of it indeed. The 20th Anniversary edition of the book is now available from Disney Press and it's a fascinating look through the original idea, with some new illustrations by Tim Burton to embellish the story we're probably more familiar with because of the fantastic film.

The story is still brilliant. Jack is the pumpkin king of Halloween Land, though he's tired of spending each and every year planning spooky screams and scares for everyone.

While wandering in the forest, Jack and his faithful ghost hound Zero discover a trio of trees marked with interesting symbols. A gust of wind propels Jack through one emblazoned with a christmas tree, and after falling through swirling mists, he finds himself in Christmas Land.

(As I type this, "What's this" has erupted onto my internal Jukebox and I'm trying to remember the scene in the book and distance it from that magical scene in the movie).

Soon Jack decides that it shouldn't just be left to Santa to come up with Christmas, in fact anyone should be allowed to! Jack and his ghoulish subjects decide to cook up a christmas the world will never forget!

Tim Burton's original story is missing Sally, missing The Professor and missing the mad mouthpiece mayor but nonetheless it's a charming, thrilling and inventive story and this sumptuous edition is great to leaf through. Tim Burton's scratchy scribbly illustrations are wonderful, and though Charlotte was a little disappointed that the drawings weren't just visuals taken from the movie (once I'd explained why, she 'got it' though), she loves the story enough to hear its origins and see the characters that would eventually become so well known and well loved in their original forms here.

Charlotte's best bit: Zero. She thinks he's very cute, for a ghostly dog!

Daddy's Favourite bit: A fascinating glimpse into the earliest concepts behind a movie we've known and loved for years. Utterly enchanting and magical, and a timely book with Halloween coming up!

(Kindly sent to us for review by Disney Press)