The Twelve Days of Christmas by Alison Jay (Koala Books)
HB RRP $19.99
Reviewed by Jenny Heslop
The Twelve Days of Christmas is a classic Christmas carol which most people know well. On each of the twelve days of Christmas, a man buys a gift for his true love, each one getting bigger and more extravagant.
The counting and the repetition within the lyrics make it perfect for a picture book but the absolute delight (and cleverness) of The Twelve Days of Christmas is the illustrations. There is so much to marvel over on so many different levels.
At first glance they are old-fashioned paintings; beautiful, glowing scenes, cracked with age. But the closer you look, the more you see. From the hustle and bustle of Christmas preparations in the town to the quieter, but still active, country life, there is so much going on around the man and woman as they walk through the story.
Every page provides a clue to what the next gift will be – on the page before ‘six geese a-laying’ two geese float on the river as the couple cross a bridge. Hidden away on every page is Father Christmas, and he is not always easy to spot!
Also hidden away on most pages are little humorous scenes – such as a policeman chasing a turkey down the street – and links back to precious gifts. And I’m sure much more that I have missed. These are illustrations which can be studied for great lengths of time.
So many themes of Christmas are included; families, carolling, gifts, and parties. This is an engrossing book for quiet contemplation as well as for reading to young ones during the December preparations.