The Twelve Days of Christmas: A Piñata for the Piñon Tree

Book review by
Patricia Tauzer, Common Sense Media
The Twelve Days of Christmas: A Piñata for the Piñon Tree Book Poster Image
Southwestern zest spices up this Christmas carol.

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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this book presents a New Mexican twist on a familiar holiday carol. The characters are animals, the spirit is one of festive friendship, and nothing at all is questionable for families who celebrate Christmas.

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What's the story?

This is an adaptation of the well-known carol that follows a similar pattern: animals of ReeDerville, New Mexico are preparing for their holiday celebration. Each day, for 12 days, the badger's amigos bring some new southwestern touches to the growing celebration, while to the side the badger is baking bizcochitos to serve. From crows to coyotes, cowgirls and kachinas, together they create a very festive night out in the snowy evening.

Is it any good?

Not so much about Christmas as about putting together the party to celebrate, this lively, vibrant book is a joy. So many versions of this favorite carol have been created, from the traditional to other regional adaptations; this is a particularly fun and lively version, a festival in itself. Ashley Wolff's artwork in gouache and pastel brings a warm festive life to the fun, and gives the reader much to look at.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the plants and animals that live in New Mexico. Which ones do you see in the illustrations, as characters or gifts? How does the gift brought each day add to the festive spirit, and how are those gifts different from the ones in the traditional song?

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