The Twelve Days of Christmasby Laurel Long
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.
“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
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)
The New York Times Book Review
What People are Saying About This
“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
““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.”
“This version has a dreamy, fairy-tale sensibility."
“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
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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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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.