There are many new holiday picture books such as recent versions of old favorites.
James Lord Pierpont, credited with writing the popular song “Jingle Bells,” was a minister in Savannah when in 1850 he wrote the song for a children’s holiday choir. For this fictionalized account, John Harris set the story at the time of civil rights unrest. Adam Gustavson expands the text with realistic oil paintings. Young readers may enjoy re-enacting this story with bell accompaniment.
Many versions of this traditional song exist, but Laurel Long takes the story beyond the accumulated account of the Christmas gifts to hunt-and-seek tapestry-like paintings that divulge the embellished French hens, the dancing milking maids and other gifts tucked away in subsequent pages. This truly is a glorious work of art.
For a contrast to the Long version, Jane Ray’s “The Twelve Days of Christmas” (Candlewick) is set in the 1920s with brownstone buildings and nostalgic events, including nine maids dancing the Charleston.
A version of "The Twelve Days of Christmas," illustrated by Jade Fang (Accord Publishing), includes Animotion panels that show the animals and people moving as the pages turn.
A stately colonial house is the setting for Charles Santore’s interpretation of this holiday classic. The glittering tree and stockings on the fireplace are beautiful in traditional design. A double-page fold-out reveals a shimmering winter scene that adds to the interest and beauty.
Another adaptation of a classic worth noting is "Mary Engelbreit's Nutcracker (Harper), which interprets E.T.A. Hoffman’s 1816 story with the artist’s signature illustrations.