Cabrera continues her series of modern interpretations of classic children’s songs with an updated, chipper version of “The Twelve Days of Christmas” featuring groups of cheerful animals and other cute characters getting ready for Christmas.
The little girl in this version of the folk song is surprised by her “true love” (or, more likely, her best pal), who gives her a flock of tiny birds partying in the pear tree. That gift is followed by two drumming dogs, three cute cats and four magic mice. A story unfolds in Cabrera’s bold, naïvely styled acrylic paintings, with the little girl and boy and all the animals gathering around an outdoor Christmas tree under five shining stars. As the song continues, other animals join the outdoor winter fun, along with elves a-baking indoors and snowmen outside singing. Following 11 dancing reindeer and 12 skating penguins, Santa arrives in his sleigh to take the little girl and boy back home. This innovative version of the old song should appeal readily to today’s children since the animals and their actions are all recognizable. The new words are quite easy to sing, and the musical notation is included in the final pages.
There are many picture-book versions of the old song in print, but this bright, sunny variation is good fun for young children, particularly as a sing-along experience. (Picture book. 3-8)