Saturday, December 8, 2018

Review - The Worst Twelve Days of Christmas

The Worst Twelve Days of Christmas
by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen
illustrated by Ryan Wood
Date: 2011
Publisher: Harry N. Abrams
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 32
Format: e-book
Source: library

In this spirited reworking of the classic song “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” Joy has to deal with her first Christmas with a new baby brother—and nothing could be worse. He drools on the ornaments and ruins the presents, he eats all the cookies and smashes the snowmen, and he’s on the verge of taking over the whole holiday. Joy’s patience runs out as the baby’s mishaps pile up. A sweet surprise turns the tables on Joy, who eventually appreciates what her baby brother adds to the holiday.

Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen and Ryan Wood pair perfectly for this funny holiday book with a sibling-appreciation message that will make readers laugh and sing along with every reading.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

I don't know how to rate this one. More precisely, I don't know how to rate the pictures. On the surface, I really liked them; they're cute and luminous and warm, perfectly capturing a holiday feel. But they also don't match the text in one glaring way: Joy is six years old... but she's drawn to look like a teenager.

This coloured my reading of the whole book. I don't know why Joy had to be six, because that age made the rest of the book extremely unrealistic. A six-year-old wouldn't be the one making the baby's stocking, single-handedly building seven snowmen, hanging mistletoe from the ceiling, or assembling the light-up reindeer in the hallway. For a while, I wasn't even sure if these siblings had parents. It turns out they do, but that kind of makes it worse. Where were they when Sam was destroying everything? Why didn't they stop him from ruining a whole batch of gingerbread men, slobbering over the candy canes Joy was going to give to her friends, and smashing all the ornaments? I hate it when picture books show kids getting away with bad behaviour just for the cuteness factor. Sam's too young to discipline, but he should've at least been supervised.

So... I'm torn. The illustrations are beautiful, even though they don't match the text. The rhymes are clunky, even though I can see the author was going for a version of "The Twelve Days of Christmas". I just don't think this one clicked... which is a shame, because it had potential.

Premise: 3/5
Meter: 2/5
Writing: 2/5
Illustrations: 3/5
Originality: 3/5

Enjoyment: 2/5

Overall: 2.43 out of 5

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