Twelve Days of Christmas

A Piñata in a Pine Tree

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A Piñata in a Pine Tree: A Latino Twelve Days of Christmas

By Pat Mora, illustrated by Magaly Morales

Ages 5 & up, 32 pages

A Piñata in a Pine Tree is a delightful Spanish version of Twelve Days of Christmas. The only English is the first line on each page then the other items are listed in Spanish. Instead of a true love the girl receives gifts from her amiga. The pictures are colorful and capture a festive Christmas mood. The end of the book provides a glossary and pronunciation guide. The author also highlights Latino traditions, such as luminarias (paper lanterns) with a brown bag that has a candle inside. Luminarias symbolize lighting the way for the Christ Child. Another tradition mentioned are various foods eaten, such as pastelitos (small pies or turnovers) and tamales. The illustrator explained that the Twelve days of Christmas begin on December 26 and end on January 6 when Los Reyes Magos (Three Wise Men) visit young children with gifts. I enjoyed this cultural and informative book.

Gifts received:

Uno piñata in a pine tree
Dos pastelitos (two turnovers)
Tres tamalitos (meat wrapped in corn husks)
Cuatro luminarias (four paper lanterns)
Cinco guitarritas (five guitars)
Seis trompos girando (six spinning tops)
Siete burritos bailando (seven dancing donkeys)
Ocho pajaritos serenando (eight serenading birds)
Nueve campanitas sonando (nine bells ringing)
Diez estrellitas saltando (ten stars skipping)
Once lunitas cantando (eleven singing moons)
Doce angelitos celebrando (twelve angels rejoicing) 

Book Review: Three French Hens

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Three French Hens

by Margie Palatini, illustrated by Richard Egielski

Ages 6 & up, 36 pages

Humorous

On the third day of Christmas a mademoiselle from Paris sent her true love three French hens, two turtledoves, and a partridge in a pear tree. However, there was a major problem with a smudged address because the hens never arrived to the true love. Colette, Poulette, and Fifi decide they will deliver themselves and find Monsieur Philippe Renard. They look in the New York City phone book and discover that they’re actually searching for Phil Fox. As you may have guessed, Phil Fox is a fox and hasn’t had a good meal in a month and has no friends. Phil Fox opens his door and sees his next meal. Before he realizes it, the French hens have bathed him, decorated his house, and cooked delicious food. Phil Fox feels somewhat guilty, because he’s not who they think he is and isn’t even French. Colette, Poulette, and Fifi don’t care at all and like their friend just as he is. Phil Fox is touched that the French hens consider him a friend. A great friendship forms between three French hens from Paris and Phil Fox from the Bronx.

A Bellbird in a Flame Tree

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A Bellbird in a Flame Tree

written and illustrated by Kilmeny Niland

Ages 5 & up, 32 pages

Most people know the original version of The Twelve Days of Christmas, but this is an Australian version. I had difficulty finding this book on Amazon and I was lucky enough that my library had it. Kilmeny Niland is an award winning artist who lives in Sydney, Australia. I thought this book was educational to learn about different animals. A Bellbird in a Flame Tree can be used to introduce Australian animals and then gather more information about them.

Here is the full list of the animals:

One on the twelfth day of Christmas my true love sent to me, 
twelve koalas clowning, 
eleven lizards leaping, 
ten dingoes dancing, 
nine numbats knitting, 
eight quokkas cooking, 
seven mice a-marching, 
six penguins peeping, 
five crocodiles, 
four pelicans, 
three lorikeets, 
two wallabies, 
and a bellbird in a flame tree. 
 

Additonal Information about Australian Animals