cover image The 12 Days o Yule

The 12 Days o Yule

Susan Rennie, illus. by Matthew Land. Floris/Picture Kelpies (Steiner Books, dist.), $11.95 paper (32p) ISBN 978-1-7825-0208-1

Rennie presents “The Twelve Days of Christmas” in traditional Scots language alongside Land’s graceful illustrations of a snowy Scottish countryside of rolling hills and quaint cottages. Preexisting knowledge of Scots pronunciations (or at least a passable brogue) are recommended: “On the first day of Yuletide,/ My true luve gied tae me/ A reid robin in a rowan tree,” it begins. The crooked little tree retreats into the distance as each new gift appears, including five “gowden rings” (Scottish Highland bulls with nose rings), seven “sheep a-shooglin” as they totter on an icy lake, and eight “skaters shooshin” across the same lake in Victorian suits and dresses. At the conclusion, all of the figures introduced—tartan-clad pipers, dancers, lassies, and more—reconvene around the rowan tree. A closing glossary Scots offers definitions, rounding out a charming, old-fashioned Christmas offering. Ages 4–7. (Oct.)