cover image 12 Days of Christmas (The Christmas Choir)

12 Days of Christmas (The Christmas Choir)

Lara Hawthorne. Frances Lincoln, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-7112-4540-2

Artist Hawthorne deftly weaves together traditional and contemporary strands in a nuanced interpretation of this 18th-century French carol, with detailed, richly hued naïf art created in gouache and edited digitally. Spotlighting a young woman’s charming cottage and the lush surrounding countryside, the illustrations share the verse’s cumulative nature, initially revealing the aggregate gifts she receives each day and, in subsequent spreads, reprising them in various combinations. Joining the narrator in each scene are her dog, cat, and resident mouse, whose frisky antics young readers will enjoy spotting. Hawthorne caps off this buoyant romp with a gleeful panorama that showcases the entire cast and offers a search-and-find challenge—while the narrator and her newly pictured true love, another woman, look on. Ages 2–5. (Oct.)