The book that has kept Amanda and me busy for the last couple of days is The Twelve Days of Christmas by Paula Cloonan and published by Blackie London and Bedrick/Blackie New York.
The first time I read the book to her, she asked me to read it and then to sing it afterward. We went through the lyrics together a couple of times. She was so keen on learning it that she wasn’t happy when we had to stop for dinner.
The pages in the book are not numbered. It’s mostly made up of illustrations with one stanza on one page for every two pages of illustration. Amanda’s favorite part of the song is the five gold rings. Paula keeps it interesting for curious minds by hiding the five gold rings on the subsequent pages. Amanda had a lot of fun playing “I spy” as she looked for the rings.
(In this photo, Amanda is pointing out the five gold rings hanging from the doorknob.)
At this point I discovered that the images I had printed from the computer had a few of them in a different order. I thought that I was teaching her the way that everyone sang it. Why was my book different to the website? Well, our book doesn’t seem to have the most popular version, but it’s closer to the oldest version in print. This is what I found on Wikipedia:
The earliest attested version of the chant in England appears in The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes, as follows:
The twelfth day of Christmas, | My true love sent to me | Twelve lords a-leaping, | Eleven pipers piping, | Ten ladies dancing, | Nine drummers drumming, | Eight maids a-milking, | Seven swans a-swimming, | Six geese a-laying, | Five gold rings, | Four colly birds, | Three French hens, | Two turtle doves, and | A partridge in a pear tree.
The colly birds are another name for blackbirds. Many newer versions have changed it to calling birds just as our book has. Also, some versions use “golden” rings instead of “gold” rings. Our book uses “gold” rings, but Amanda preferred singing it as “golden” and that was without prior knowledge of this being another option.
I think that this book is ideal for reading to young children ages 3 – 6 for both boys and girls. It held Amanda’s attention for an unusually long amount of time. For that reason alone, I’d say that this is a great book to buy for the holidays.
Here is a fun American 12 Days of Christmas website with lots of gifts and activities that you can make, games to play and other great Christmas resources. It’s the same website that I used to print my images for the memory cards. They also stick with the more common version of this song.
I did not receive any pay or gift for this book review. All opinions are entirely mine and my daughters.
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The kitten joined us for story-time.