Reviews for Twelve Days of Christmas

Booklist Reviews 2011 October #1
English artist Ray takes the traditional Christmas song as text and illustrates it in a large-format picture book that is pleasing in every way. The scene is an Amsterdam-like row of townhouses along a canal, where a young woman opens the door of her house to accept the delivery of a partridge in a pear tree, while a shy young man watches from the house next door. Though the days bring ever-increasing chaos to her household, the young woman accepts the distracting gifts with more bemusement than dismay and, in the closing picture, smiles when her suitor arrives at her door and hands her a red rose. In the watercolor, ink, and collage artwork, the rhythmic repetition of decorative forms and patterns creates a musical sensibility that makes singing the text seem more natural than reading it. A seasonal favorite with a multicultural cast and plenty of visual details to delight children, this is a picture book to share, year after year. Copyright 2011 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2012 Spring
Ray's lush double-page spreads illustrate the classic Christmas carol's well-known lyrics. Her palette is rich and warm, emitting a soft glow throughout the playful scenes; "nine ladies dancing" cavort, in 1920s garb, aboard the deck of a ship while the "eleven pipers piping" portray several different cultures. This festively detailed interpretation is fresh and familiar at the same time.

Kirkus Reviews 2011 September #1

The lovely cover of this exquisite interpretation of the classic song draws readers in immediately with its soft pink background and delicate pear tree next to a cup of tea and a letter hinting at the delightful story inside.

On the first day of Christmas, readers see an old-fashioned city street with a postman delivering the pear tree to a surprised young lady at a house marked number four. There are other people on the street and in the windows of the other houses, but look closely at the house next door to number four. (There, in the window: the shy young man wearing glasses.) He is watching from his window as many of the ensuing gifts are delivered to the pretty young lady, each one bearing a tag "to my true love." As the presents accumulate, the typical mayhem with geese, swans, cows and pipers ensues, coming to a touching conclusion on the final page, when the young man finally finds enough courage to knock on the door of number four, bearing a single rose for his true love. Ray's luminous illustrations in watercolor, ink and collage mesmerize and feature a 1920s setting and a multiracial cast of characters in period costumes. Every two-page spread is a surprise in content and composition, and her skilled accommodation of all the birds, beasts and performers, as well as the two sweethearts, is remarkable.     

A dazzling accomplishment. (Picture book. 3-7)

Copyright Kirkus 2011 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2011 September #4

Ray brings a 1920s aesthetic to this classic carol with her elegant tableaus. A scarlet-haired young woman, who lives in a brownstone building on a busy riverside street, receives daily unexpected deliveries, care of her true love. As the snow falls outside, her gentle aviary grows (not appearing the slightest bit inconvenienced, she slumbers surrounded by six geese a-laying). Nine ladies dressed in furs and cloche hats dance the Charleston as they pass by on a festive boat, and on the 12th day, the woman's true love arrives carrying a single rose. A finely detailed and nostalgic interpretation. Ages 3-6. (Sept.)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2011 October

K-Gr 5--On a busy city street in the 1920s, a young woman's "true love" pulls out all the stops in this appealing version of the traditional song. Day by day, her tiny row house fills up with birds and cows, lords and ladies, and pipers and drummers (with pipes and drums from all over the world), and of course five golden rings. She takes all the ensuing chaos in stride, and, of course, her true love shows up on the doorstep as a grand finale. Ray's intricate illustrations offer a wealth of details to explore up close. The images are slightly busy for sharing with a large group, but irresistible for a smaller group or one-on-one. A very nice version indeed.--Mara Alpert, Los Angeles Public Library

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