The Twelve Hours of Christmas

Little, Brown. Oct. 2023. 32p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780316330978.
PreS-Gr 3–This take on “The Twelve Days of Christmas” showcases a Christmas day full of fun and family. A young girl with brown skin wakes up on Christmas morning to find a kitten under the tree. “In the first hour of Christmas, Santa left for me—…a kitten underneath the Christmas tree! In the second hour of Christmas, the twins dressed up to be—…two stomping dinos and a kitten —…Uh-oh! Where can she be?” Here starts the 12-hour day in which the kitten remains hidden and the girl’s twin brothers get into many antics in their dinosaur costumes. As the day continues, extended family members, including Uncle Lee, Nana, and cousins, arrive to join in snowman-making, putting whipped cream in a sleeping Gramps’s goatee, plenty of food, and a family picture by the tree. Digital illustrations of reds and greens, along with various shades of brown, enhance the cozy text. Author and artist pay attention to detail as they follow through the story; jokes from a book introduced in the fourth hour are sprinkled throughout, and front end papers show the house decorated, complete with falling snow—back end papers show the same scene, this time at night, complete with the snowmen that were made in the seventh hour. Readers and listeners will enjoy singing the words of the story to the tune of the familiar Christmas carol.
VERDICT This cozy Christmas tale centering a Black family feels new and familiar at the same time. A recommended purchase.

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