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The Twelve Days of Christmas

Overview

With luminous artwork full of elaborate detail, the acclaimed Jane Ray brings new life to a classic holiday song.

In this lushly illustrated interpretation of the familiar Christmas carol, each spread offers surprises for the eye as nostalgic city scenes depict a multiethnic cast of characters bustling with packages and sprucing up their homes for the holidays. But at one home in particular, an endless succession of gifts keeps arriving: birds of all stripes, ladies dancing ...

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Overview

With luminous artwork full of elaborate detail, the acclaimed Jane Ray brings new life to a classic holiday song.

In this lushly illustrated interpretation of the familiar Christmas carol, each spread offers surprises for the eye as nostalgic city scenes depict a multiethnic cast of characters bustling with packages and sprucing up their homes for the holidays. But at one home in particular, an endless succession of gifts keeps arriving: birds of all stripes, ladies dancing aboard a brightly bedecked boat, lords leaping on rooftops, and pipers piping up and down stairs. Filled with intricate patterns and whimsical flourishes, Jane Ray's gorgeous artwork is the perfect match for this wonderfully cumulative tale.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
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.)
From the Publisher
A dazzling accomplishment.
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

It's a snowy, festive morning when a partridge and pear tree arrive by deliveryman at the front door of a beautiful young woman. Ms. Ray's mixed-media pictures are suffused with peachy-pinks and rosy-reds, giving the pages an edible, sugar-plummy feel.
—Wall Street Journal

School Library Journal
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
Kirkus Reviews

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)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780763657352
  • Publisher: Candlewick Press
  • Publication date: 9/27/2011
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 1,420,790
  • Age range: 3 - 7 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.60 (w) x 11.80 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Jane Ray is the author-illustrator of THE DOLLHOUSE FAIRY, THE APPLE-PIP PRINCESS, and a 3D novelty edition of SNOW WHITE. She is also the illustrator of CLASSIC FAIRY TALES by Berlie Doherty. Jane Ray lives in London.
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