The Twelve Days of Christmas By Alison Jay



Alison Jay

This week we continue our look into some of our favourite Christmas stories, with a look at one of Alison Jay’s stunningly beautiful books.


No doubt you are all extremely familiar with The Twelve Days of Christmas; I can’t even think of the title without hearing the song play in my head. Basically the 12 days of Christmas are counted, with each day bringing a different numerical gift, such as nine drummers drumming, or eight maids a-milking and the last gift on each day is always ‘a partridge in a pear tree’. Are you hearing the song in your head yet?

Why I love it:

There are countless versions of this book available, but what sets this one apart from the rest is simply that is an Alison Jay book. Her illustrations, with their unique, cracked appearance, are absolutely delightful and no matter how old my children get, I can never bring myself to hand on any of Alison Jay’s books. If you are unfamiliar with this particular version of The Twelve Days of Christmas, it really is worth seeking out.

Themes to discuss with your child:

  • Christmas
  • Tradition
  • The history of this song/story
  • The power and impact of illustrations
  • Storytelling through image
  • Gift giving
  • The true spirit of Christmas

Questions to ask your child:

Before reading:
  • What do you think this book might be about?
  • Do you think this is a fiction book (a story) or a non-fiction book (facts)?
  • Have you heard of this book before?
  • Do you know the tune? If so, can you sing it for me?
  • Does the illustration style look familiar?
  • What is different about the picture on the cover?
  • How many cows can you see on the cover?
  • How many trees can you count?
  • On the back cover, how many gems are on the large ring?
  • Does this book appeal to you (do you like the look of it)? Why/Why not?
After reading:
  • Did you enjoy this book? Why/Why not?
  • Were you able to hear the song in your head while we read the story?
  • Can you remember any of the words?
  • How many gold rings were given?
  • How many pipers were piping?
  • What were the geese doing?
  • On the last page of the story, whose picture is in the middle of the mantelpiece above the fireplace?
  • Did you enjoy the illustrations in the story?
  • If you had to give a present to your true love, what would you give them?

Never miss a freebie!

Like a little brilliance in your inbox?
Sign up here to receive a free weekly planner printable.
(That's just the start of the free goodies - our subscribers are the first to receive our brilliant activity ideas for fun family time!)

Powered by ConvertKit