The Twelve Days of Christmas

by Jane Ray

Jane Ray playfully captures the romance and impossibility of the well-known holiday... read more

Jane Ray playfully captures the romance and impossibility of the well-known holiday song in a volume that opens with an inviting streetscape of artful row houses along a canal. Snow gently falls and a delivery is being made to the red-haired woman living at number 4: a partridge in a pair tree. Each item from the song is showcased in turn in a variety of imaginative scenarios featuring a multicultural cast. The children on the street play with the five gold rings (hoops) as the woman watches from her door, surrounded by the bevy of birds she’s already received. The nine ladies dancing sail by in a boat along the canal in flapper-inspired garments. The eleven pipers piping represent a variety of cultural traditions as they surround the woman on her staircase. Through it all the woman’s expressions (surprise, delight, dismay) are a treat. There is much to notice on every page of Ray’s mixed-media illustrations, not the least of which is the young man who lives next door: the woman’s true love. Ray’s images balance rich colors and details with a wonderful sense of warmth and whimsy. (Ages 4–9)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2012

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