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The Twelve Days of Christmas Hardcover – September 24, 2013
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From School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 1-A little girl sneaks a look at a wrapped present on the night before Christmas-a snow globe of a partridge in a pear tree-and accidentally breaks it. Falling asleep, she dreams of Santa giving her a ride on his sled, during which he gives her two turtledoves and all the rest of the traditional gifts in the song. Arriving back at his workshop, he repairs the broken gift, and the girl wakes up to Christmas morning to a wrapped-up, unbroken snow globe. The dream setting of Santa's sleigh above snowy rooftops makes as good a backdrop as any for those odd gifts, from fussy French hens to swans startling the milkmaids and their cows (all wearing fluffy bonnets). Families looking for a singable version of the song will be disappointed, but they will likely enjoy the story and the exuberant, oversize illustrations.-Eva Mitnick, Los Angeles Public Libraryα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
The familiar holiday song gets a lovely twist when a little girl finds an early Christmas present—a snow globe containing a partridge in a pear tree—which she promptly drops. Unhappy and exhausted, she falls asleep and dreams that Santa Claus takes her to the North Pole. Each spread adds one of the familiar elements of the song (though fortunately without the repetition). French hens fly through the air with Santa, 8 maids milk in the snow, and 12 pipers pipe the duo into the workshop, where Santa fixes the globe. Has it all been a dream? Christmas morning, a gleaming globe shows it has not. With some sparkle on the cover, and graceful (and often amusing) artwork on the inside, this brings new life to an old favorite. Preschool-Grade 2. --Ilene Cooper
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Susan Jeffers TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS is an attempt to create a story around the familiar maids-a-dancing and the partridge-in-a-pear tree song/poem.
The story begins with a little girl who opens her gift early. There's an accident and the music box breaks. Curling up around the music box that features a pear tree and partridge, she goes to sleep and Santa sweeps her through 'the 12 Days of Christmas' where at the end the little girl wakes up to find that the toy is restored.
It's a cute enough premise.
What works very well is the gorgeous artwork. It's colorful and whimsical. Sometimes sweet and sometime majestic.
I just wish that the art was all there was, and that most of the words were excluded. The beautiful font that says "Six Geese a Laying" and "Twelve Pipers Piping" (for example) is all that is really needed. The images speak for themselves (in my opinion) and the addition of lines like "The Pipers piped us right up to Santa's front door" just detract from the story.
A lovely variation of the TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS, this book would be lovely to share with children. I just wouldn't read the text, but would suggest children show me where the 5 Golden Rings were, and we'd make up the story in our own words.
Emma, our narrator, is up later than she should be on Christmas Eve and she pokes around the tree until she finds a gift addressed to her from Santa. She carefully opens it up and discovers a beautiful, musical snow globe that plays the music for "The Twelve Days of Christmas." She is so pleased and excited and in her enthusiastic joy she stumbles and the snow globe drops and cracks. She is heartbroken and very upset. She cradles the fragile, broken globe in her arms, curls up in her favourite chair and instantly falls asleep. Santa comes and whisks her away in his sleigh and they observe the gifts of the song on their travels to the North Pole. The twelve pipers piping announce Santa's arrival at his homestead and Emma and he enter, walk through his workshop and sit down in his room to sip cocoa and eat cookies together. He asks Emma if she needs to share anything with him and she slowly hands over the her broken music box with an explanation of how it got that way. She once again drifts off to sleep snuggled in Santa's arm chair and dreams that the reindeer are flying her through the air and back home.
On Christmas morning Emma wakes up to find a true Christmas miracle and she is very thankful and happy to know that all is well, and that her beloved gift that "Santa gave to me' has been restored.
The illustrations are the star here, and while their heavily stylized nature and dreamy edges are not to my taste, the artist has included enough detail to ensure that kids will want to review them again and again. The extra story appended to the front and back of the song serves a purpose but doesn't offer up much new, and there is no provision for the cumulative nature of the song itself. This is a dreamy look at this classic, with a nostalgic feel that makes it best served for one on one sharing. If you are looking for a version for group sharing, search for one that is a bit livelier. This is still an excellent purchase for personal collectors looking for a classic addition to their holiday library.
I received this product free for the purpose of reviewing it. I received no other compensation for this review. The opinions expressed in this review are my personal, honest opinions. Your experience may vary. Please read my full disclosure policy for more details