The Twelve Days of Christmas

( 1 )

Overview

The astounding talent of Laurel Long brings this beloved song to life with breathtaking style. Set against a lush countryside, each day brings a new gift elegantly rendered. And like in the verses of the song, the previous gifts are repeated in every illustration, giving this striking artwork a hidden aspect, culminating in a staggering spread featuring them all. Readers will pore over every page, searching for golden rings, turtledoves, and all the rest, secretly tucked into ...

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Overview

The astounding talent of Laurel Long brings this beloved song to life with breathtaking style. Set against a lush countryside, each day brings a new gift elegantly rendered. And like in the verses of the song, the previous gifts are repeated in every illustration, giving this striking artwork a hidden aspect, culminating in a staggering spread featuring them all. Readers will pore over every page, searching for golden rings, turtledoves, and all the rest, secretly tucked into each stunning painting.

Laurel Long's unparalleled style makes this exquisite volume a treasure that will be cherished for years to come.

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Editorial Reviews

Pamela Paul
Here's a song whose lyrics everyone knows and that therefore demands something spectacular to distinguish it. This version, sumptuously illustrated by Long…certainly delivers.
—The New York Times Book Review
Publishers Weekly
In a book that’s part elegant tapestry, part seek-and-find game, Long (The Magic Nesting Doll) expertly weaves religious and secular images into a visually arresting interpretation of the traditional carol. A princess-maiden who wends her way through a lush, mystical forest toward a castle is but one of the story lines eagle-eyed readers can follow as they pore over the intricate, delicately framed oil paintings; gifts from earlier scenes reappear and accumulate throughout, resulting in French hens tucked among poinsettias and milkmaids transformed into foliage. Iconic angels, knights leaping on horseback, and ladies in luxurious, shimmering gowns are among the memorable scene-stealers. Ages 3–5. (Oct.)
New York Times
“Here’s a song whose lyrics everyone knows and that therefore demands something spectacular to distinguish it. This version, sumptuously illustrated by Long, certainly delivers.”
The Wall Street Journal
“Ms. Long has secreted lyrical clues within each picture that children will relish hunting down.”
Booklist
“An accomplished visual interpretation with a playful element for children to enjoy.”
WNY Family Magazine
“This book is a beautiful introduction to the song for young children; an engaging book for older children; and a book that makes those already familiar with the traditional song more thoughtful.”
From the Publisher
“Here’s a song whose lyrics everyone knows and that therefore demands something spectacular to distinguish it. This version, sumptuously illustrated by Long, certainly delivers.” — New York Times

“Ms. Long has secreted lyrical clues within each picture that children will relish hunting down.” — The Wall Street Journal

* “Long expertly weaves religious and secular images into a visually arresting interpretation of the traditional carol.” — Publishers Weekly, starred review

“An accomplished visual interpretation with a playful element for children to enjoy.” — Booklist

“This version has a dreamy, fairy-tale sensibility." — Kirkus

“Long’s lyrical and lush oil paintings, reminiscent of Russian icon art, combined with a tricky interactive element, make this version of the traditional carol special.” — School Library Journal

“This book is a beautiful introduction to the song for young children; an engaging book for older children; and a book that makes those already familiar with the traditional song more thoughtful.” — WNY Family Magazine

Children's Literature - Carrie Hane Hung
The rich, golden colors of the partridge in a pear tree on the front cover are a warm invitation into this exquisitely illustrated Christmas carol. In each stunning layout, the detailed illustration for the verse of the song fills the page with color and mood. The words of the song are featured in a small, lightened area of the page and are secondary to the illustrations. Some children will enjoy seeking the hidden pictures of each day's gift in the song; the verses are like a list of the hidden items in the scene. Locating some of the hidden gifts is a challenge while others are easy. Those seekers who just have to know where each gift is hidden in the pictures will find the locations or answers on the back of the book jacket. The sheet music for this song is located at the back of the book along with a note from the author about the carol and its history. The book makes a wonderful gift to love and treasure. Reviewer: Carrie Hane Hung
School Library Journal
K-Gr 5—Every Christmas new versions of this song are published, and this is a rare one that truly stands out. As readers move through the various gifts, they are given the opportunity to search for the previous gifts concealed in the art. For example, on the third day of Christmas, readers see three handsome French hens nesting near a Christmas tree amid mistletoe, pinecones, and roses, and also on the spread are tiny images of two turtle doves and a partridge. The inside of the book jacket contains the key to the hidden images. The musical score and an artist's note about the history of the song are included. Long's lyrical and lush oil paintings, reminiscent of Russian icon art, combined with a tricky interactive element, make this version of the traditional carol special.—Mara Alpert, Los Angeles Public Library
Kirkus Reviews

Ornate illustrations in a lush, romantic style follow the traditional wording of the old song, with all the accumulating gifts hidden within each succeeding illustration.

This version has a dreamy, fairy-tale sensibility, though Long does not provide a clear visual narrative to accompany all the verses of the song. There is a mysterious woman in red in the background of several illustrations, angels serving as pipers and nine ladies dancing who look like they stepped out of "The Twelve Dancing Princesses." The 10 lords a-leaping are knights in armor riding off to battle, with the lady in red again hurrying away in the distance. All the gifts (in the correct numbers) are hidden in each following illustration, tucked into borders, shadows, flowers and costumes, often in tiny or faint formats that are difficult even for an adult to locate. The solution key to the hidden gifts is printed in thumbnail sketches on the back of the book's paper cover, which limits this volume's usefulness in library settings. The final two-page spread shows all the gifts integrated into a complex outdoor scene.

The intricate illustrations demonstrate the artist's considerable skills, but the total effort is a fragmented conglomeration that fails to create a story for the song. To see what really can be done with the song, read Jane Ray's exquisite version (2011). (artist's note, musical notation)(Picture book. 5-7)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780147512864
  • Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
  • Publication date: 10/16/2014
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 361,398
  • Age range: 3 - 7 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.80 (w) x 11.20 (h) x 0.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Laurel Long (laurellong.com) is a professor of art at California University-Northridge and lives in La Verne, California, with her family.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 19, 2014

    Highly recommended - a perfect gift for Christmas for children and adults

    Illustrations are simply fantastic!
    Tender colors, style, amazing details - it's hard to put this book away.
    It creates a feeling of magic once you get it in your hands.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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