A velvety cover in holly-berry red sets the tone for this short collection of traditional Christmas carols illustrated with Hague’s cuddly animal characters singing along with each other and preparing for the holiday.
The collection includes “Jingle Bells,” “Deck the Halls,” “O Christmas Tree” and “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.” The words to each song are attractively laid out in large type on ivory pages with decorative, Christmas-themed borders. Opposite each page of text is an illustration of one of Hague’s animals: a rabbit in a one-horse open sleigh, bears finding their tree and cooking figgy pudding and mixed groups of cooperative creatures caroling together in the snow. The arrangement of songs and animal groups forms a coherent visual story of preparation and celebration, just right to introduce younger children to the traditional carols or to use in a holiday storytime as a musical selection. The choice of a larger type font and layout incorporating white space make this a suitable choice for new readers as well. Hague’s illustrations have the same dreamy charm that has made his work popular over the past 30 years, but he now prepares his illustrations digitally.
This “Yuletide treasure” is a sweet treat; time to “[s]trike the harp and join the chorus.” (notes on songs, Illustrator's note) (Picture book/early reader. 2-8)