No partridges, no pear trees—just cute pets in Santa hats in this board-book adaptation of the traditional carol.
The animals, one set per spread, are photographed against white backgrounds. Against a red background opposite or above, the words in gold mostly follow the expected format. “On the first day of Christmas, / Santa gave to me / A SLEEPY LITTLE PUPPY.” From “2 FLUFFY CATS” on up, the formula is set, varying only in the large white numeral, the adjective, and the name of the animal. This arrangement makes it easy to use the book as a simple counting activity. The vocabulary is sometimes challenging, with “3 SQUIRMY HAMSTERS,” “6 KITTENS SNUGGLING,” “7 PUGS A-PLAYING,” and “8 HEDGEHOGS HIDING.” Counting the critters is fairly straightforward (none are hiding). Weary caregivers may be thankful the designers skipped the cumulative recitation that normally followers each stanza. Toddlers wouldn’t sit still for it, especially since they are unlikely to know the original song. The final page is the only place the backward countdown appears. Somewhat confusingly, the “sleepy little puppy” shown there is the pup on the cover and not the original “sleepy little puppy.”
For animal-loving toddlers learning to count at Christmas. (Board book. 1-4)