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The Twelve Days of Christmas

Posted on Dec 5, 2011

Jane Ray
(Orchard Books)

The Twelve Days of Christmas, my all-time favourite Christmas song, is beautifully brought to life in this new picture book by Jane Ray, who manages to convey the joyfulness and slight eccentricity of the classic tune.

The colour scheme used is what I noticed to begin with when I first came across the book. The warm colours, so evocative of the cosy atmosphere of the festive season, with the fluttering snowflakes completing the gorgeous winter ambience. Jane Ray chose to set the tale in what appears to be the 1920s, in the town reminiscent of Amsterdam, which allows for some gorgeous costumes and scenes, particularly the nine ladies dancing the Charleston on the boat – and the pants on the line – which is a fabulously cheery double-spread.

But amidst the madness of the many unusual gifts that the young woman receives, there is an underlying story of love, with the leading character obviously yearning and waiting for her true love to return, which he does at the very end, leading to a beautifully romantic last spread. Again, the colour scheme contributes a lot to express the feelings in the scene.

As Jane Ray does not stray from the original lyrics of the song, this book can be enjoyed alongside the musical version, which makes it extra special.
This really is a charming, colourful and classic-looking book which should take proud place amongst Christmas book collections.

All illustrations © Jane Ray

Many thanks to Orchard Books for providing a review copy of “The Twelve Days of Christmas”.

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