________________ CM . . . . Volume V Number 3 . . . . October 2, 1998

cover Woodland Christmas.

Frances Tyrrell.
Richmond Hill, ON: Scholastic Canada, 1995.
32 pp, paper, $5.99.
ISBN 0-590-12390-4.

Subject Headings:
Folk songs, English-England-Texts.
Christmas music.

Preschool - grade 4/ Ages 4 - 9.
Review By Gail Hamilton.

**** /4

image "The Twelve Days of Christmas" are revisited in this delightful retelling of the well-known carol. Not one word of the original lyrics has been changed. A young black bear showers his true love with gifts from the forest - all of them animals which are commonly found in Canada. River otters, swimming in circles, are the five golden rings; raccoons are the eight maids a-milking, gathering baskets of twinkling stars from the Milky Way; moose, with their magnificent antlers, are the ten lords a-leaping. At the end of the story, when all of the gifts have been bestowed, the bear and his true love marry and the woodland celebration begins.

      Richly detailed watercolour illustrations, rendered in the soft blues, greens and browns of the forest and stream, are contained within arch-shaped frames surrounded by intricate ice-blue designs painted by Jack Frost. The text consistently appears on th e left-hand page with an illustration of the bear's courtship ritual beneath. First the bear brings a gift; next, his true love serves him tea; then he proposes. Perhaps the most humorous illustration is that of the bear anxiously awaiting his beloved's answer. Finally, the young "lady" returns to the room with her family in tow and shows off her five golden rings. Marriage bans are posted, and the wedding takes place. Right-hand pages are devoted to close-ups of the actual gifts. With the exception of the raccoons, all animals are depicted in their own natural habitats.

      The musical notation for the carol appears on the last page of the book. Short-listed for the Governor General's Award, this book is sure to delight young readers. Beautifully illustrated - a real charmer!

Highly recommended.

Gail Hamilton is a teacher-librarian at Bird's Hill School in East St. Paul, Manitoba.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.

Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364