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The Twelve Days of Christmas by Jane Ray
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The Twelve Days of Christmas

by Jane Ray

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English artist Jane Ray, whose many lovely picture-books include numerous fairy-tale retellings - Snow White, Hansel and Gretel, and The Twelve Dancing Princesses, to name but a few! - turns her attention to that beloved Christmas carol, The Twelve Days of Christmas, and the results are charming. Here, the twelve days-worth of gifts arrive at the canal-side doorstep of a young woman, while the "True Love" lurks in the margins of each scene, bashfully observing the object of his affection. Finally, at the very end, he shows up in person.

The artwork here is just gorgeous, with Ray's distinctive style (her human faces always have circles on/in their cheeks), and brilliant use of color. Each two-page spread is skillfully composed, and suits the gift being depicted: the five golden rings are hoops, being driven along by children; the six geese a-laying appear in a more domestic scene, surrounding the sleeping young woman. Altogether, this is a lovely presentation of this favorite song. It's unfortunate it came out during the same season as Laurel Long's version, as I think it might be overlooked as a result, and that would be a shame. Recommended to anyone who loves this carol, and to fans of Jane Ray. ( )
  AbigailAdams26 | Apr 14, 2013 |
Grades K-6

Even if you have other versions of the carol, this is a worthy one to add to your collection. Jane Ray's illustrations bring the folk song to life beautifully and with a quiet humor. Along a busy row of townhouses, a woman receives her gifts from a secret admirer each day. The various feathered and fowled gifts in the first half of the song are nicely done, but it' the later gifts that readers will want to pore over. The nine ladies dancing are a flapperesque bunch that seem to be doing the Charleston as they float by the townhouse on a boat. The eleven pipers piping and twelve drummers drumming are a multiethnic mix who are tooting and beating on a variety of instruments from around the world. Sharp-eyed readers will know ahead of time who it is that knocks on the door at the song's conclusion to present himself as her true love. Just like her earlier books, this is a delight.
( )
  KimJD | Apr 8, 2013 |
An elegant and lavish interpretation of the classic holiday song. ( )
  Sullywriter | Apr 3, 2013 |
gorgeous! ( )
  melodyreads | Nov 29, 2011 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0763657352, Hardcover)

With luminous artwork full of elaborate detail, the acclaimed Jane Ray brings new life to a classic holiday song.

In this lushly illustrated interpretation of the familiar Christmas carol, each spread offers surprises for the eye as nostalgic city scenes depict a multiethnic cast of characters bustling with packages and sprucing up their homes for the holidays. But at one home in particular, an endless succession of gifts keeps arriving: birds of all stripes, ladies dancing aboard a brightly bedecked boat, lords leaping on rooftops, and pipers piping up and down stairs. Filled with intricate patterns and whimsical flourishes, Jane Ray's gorgeous artwork is the perfect match for this wonderfully cumulative tale.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:34:15 -0400)

On each of the twelve days of Christmas, more and more gifts arrive from the recipient's true love.

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