The traditional holiday song is illustrated with a nontraditional approach, featuring a pair of young elephants as the gift-giver and the recipient.
A young elephant and its parent must cope with the flood of animal gifts in this perky version of the popular holiday carol. The gift-giving elephant arrives wearing a red Santa hat and bearing the familiar partridge in a pear tree, continuing with the traditional gifts through seven swans a-swimming. While the lyrics remain the familiar ones, characters for the eighth through 12th days of Christmas are represented by different animals, with mice as eight maids a-milking, cats as nine ladies dancing, and so on. The parent elephant grows increasingly annoyed by the arrival of all these critters, finally bursting into tears when all the animals are assembled after the final countdown. The parent is soothed by the partridge, who flies up onto the elephant’s head. The appealing animals are illustrated in cartoon style with funny hats and costumes in a fresh palette of orangey red, pink, and lime green. Children will need to be thoroughly familiar with a traditionally illustrated version of the song in order to understand this takeoff. The annoyed parent elephant is also a bit problematic to this interpretation, as the expected dynamic between “true loves” is diminished by the insertion of the parental figure.
A cheerful, busy vision of the classic holiday song. (Picture book. 3-6)