cover image The Twelve Hours of Christmas

The Twelve Hours of Christmas

Jenn Bailey, illus. by Bea Jackson. Little, Brown, $18.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-316-33097-8

“In the first hour of Christmas, Santa left for me.../ a kitten underneath the Christmas tree!” begins this warm, family-focused variation on “The 12 Days of Christmas.” During the holiday’s second hour, twins, “dressed up to be... two stomping dinos,” scare the feline away. The book’s narrator, hair in a curly puff and beaded braids, goes on to count three French toasts, five Nana hugs, six older cousins, and more, all adding up to 12 hours of Christmas shenanigans for an affectionate Black family. Carrying the charm of old-school watercolor paintings and the cinematic appeal of film, Jackson’s light-dappled illustrations further contribute a seek-and-find element via the kitten hiding across the spreads, while Bailey’s rhyming lines bring the holiday’s cozy ups and downs to this view of a bustling family celebration. Ages 4–8. (Oct.)