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The Twelve Days of Christmas

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Oh no! Emma is in trouble!

In this new version of the classic song, Santa comes to the rescue.

Susan Jeffers's artwork sparkles with the excitement of a magical journey, revels in the fun of the twelve preposterous gifts, and brings us home in time for a joyful Christmas morning.

40 pages, Hardcover

First published September 1, 2013

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About the author

Susan Jeffers

87 books55 followers
There is more than one author with this name.


Graduate of Pratt Institute 1964
Worked in the publishing field for three years
Began freelance career in 1968
Published first children's book in 1970


Caldecott Honor
Golden Apple Biennial Bratislava
The ABBY American Booksellers Best Book award
Society of Illustrators Awards of Merit
Golden Kite Society of Children's Books Author Illustrators

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5 stars
15 (14%)
4 stars
28 (26%)
3 stars
47 (44%)
2 stars
13 (12%)
1 star
2 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 25 of 25 reviews
Profile Image for Abigail.
7,083 reviews173 followers
November 29, 2018
Using the classic Christmas carol as a jumping off point, Susan Jeffers crafts a story of a young girl who has a magical Christmas Eve experience with Santa - a dream? a real-life journey? - that involves the twelve traditional gifts from the song. After breaking a special gift she has peaked at ahead of time, and then falling asleep, the girl experiences a magical ride in Santa's sleigh, ending up at his workshop, where she presents the broken present - a snow-globe with a partridge and a pear tree inside - for repair. Magically transported home, she wakes Christmas morning to find the same snow-globe waiting for her underneath the tree..

Although not precisely what I was expecting when I picked it up - I look for picture-book presentations of the classic Christmas carols every holiday season, and have read any number of more traditional "Twelve Days of Christmas" titles - Susan Jeffers book does have some sweet appeal, as a story of a girl who gets to ride with Santa Claus and visit his workshop. The verses of the carol provide the outline for the story, with gifts that "my true love gave to me" being supplied here by Santa Claus instead, and the gifts themselves providing a background to the tale. The artwork is lovely - I particularly liked the girl's expressions at the beginning and end of the story - and captures the feeling of enchantment at this time of year. Recommended to anyone looking for engaging Christmas fantasies for the picture-book set, with the proviso that those looking for a more traditional "Twelve Days of Christmas" search for the versions illustrated by Laurel Long (my favorite), Jane Ray, Jan Brett, and/or Gennady Spirin.
Profile Image for Storywraps.
1,939 reviews25 followers
December 6, 2013
The illustrations are truly stunning in this book. The water-colour-and-ink creations paint holiday magic on every page. The artwork is magical, whimsical and sparkles. The original Christmas song is an accumulative one which means the verses build one on top of another. Jeffers takes this familiar carol and makes it into a story with the song tucked inside and she changes the lyrics,"My true love gave to me," to "Santa gave to me."

Emma, our narrator, is up later than she should be on Christmas Eve and she pokes around the tree until she finds a gift addressed to her from Santa. She carefully opens it up and discovers a beautiful, musical snow globe that plays the music for "The Twelve Days of Christmas." She is so pleased and excited and in her enthusiastic joy she stumbles and the snow globe drops and cracks. She is heartbroken and very upset. She cradles the fragile, broken globe in her arms, curls up in her favourite chair and instantly falls asleep. Santa comes and whisks her away in his sleigh and they observe the gifts of the song on their travels to the North Pole. The twelve pipers piping announce Santa's arrival at his homestead and Emma and he enter, walk through his workshop and sit down in his room to sip cocoa and eat cookies together. He asks Emma if she needs to share anything with him and she slowly hands over the her broken music box with an explanation of how it got that way. She once again drifts off to sleep snuggled in Santa's arm chair and dreams that the reindeer are flying her through the air and back home.

On Christmas morning Emma wakes up to find a true Christmas miracle and she is very thankful and happy to know that all is well, and that her beloved gift that "Santa gave to me' has been restored.
14 reviews
September 22, 2017
The Twelve Days of Christmas by Susan Jeffers was a twist on the Christmas classic "Twelve Days of Christmas". The synopsis of the story is a young girl opens her present early which is a snow globe and it breaks. She goes to santa to fix it before the day of Christmas whilst experiencing the twelve days of Christmas. Jeffers does a unsatisfactory version of the nut cracker. The protagonist in the story, whose name wasn't revealed, begins by going to open a present and breaking it which wasn't stated but implied based off the pictures. The book wasn't cohesive it immediately began with the classic 12 days of Christmas tale and once the song was complete the child went to Santa to get help to fix the broken toy and it was complete. Not only was the story a bore the illustrations were sub-par as well there are plenty versions of the nutcracker that are enjoyable however this isn't one of them.
Profile Image for Meg McGregor.
3,913 reviews80 followers
January 9, 2019
Lexi and I, are currently trying to read as many versions, of The Twelve Days of Christmas, as we can find.

This is certainly one of the most beautiful and unique versions we have read so far!

"In this new version of the classic song, Santa Claus comes to the rescue!"

I have always loved Susan Jeffer's artwork, and she certainly does not disappoint, in this exquisite retelling!

Little ones will be enchanted with Santa's workshop, and by the generosity of Santa, in solving Emma's dilemma!
Profile Image for Nicola.
3,267 reviews
October 29, 2018
A version of the song where a little girl dreams that she breaks her christmas present and Santa takes her to the North Pole to magically fix it for her.

Miss 4 and I like to explore different books and authors at the library, sometimes around particular topics or themes. We try to get different ones out every week or so; it's fun for both of us to have the variety and to look at a mix of new & favourite authors.
Profile Image for Katrina Tangen.
338 reviews16 followers
January 8, 2018
The cover is gorgeous, but it's downhill from there. It was an interesting idea to add a storyline to the 12 days of Christmas, but I'm not sure it's necessary and it doesn't really work. It winds up being kind of a weird, diluted version of the Nutcracker. (Although maybe those aspects are meant to be an homage.)
Profile Image for Kat.
739 reviews1 follower
December 29, 2017
The story was a nice twist but the pictures were alright. I had picked up the book for the pictures so I was disappointed.
Profile Image for Ammie.
786 reviews
November 19, 2020
I wanted to love it, but it was missing the magic of the song. Making the story a bit odd.
Profile Image for ☼Bookish pam in Virginia☼ .
1,147 reviews44 followers
November 24, 2013
***SPOILER ... I talk about the story. For me knowing the story doesn't affect the enjoyment one bit, but everyone's different, so heads up.

Susan Jeffers TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS is an attempt to create a story around the familiar maids-a-dancing and the partridge-in-a-pear tree song/poem.

The story begins with a little girl who opens her gift early. There's an accident and the music box breaks. Curling up around the music box that features a pear tree and partridge, she goes to sleep and Santa sweeps her through 'the 12 Days of Christmas' where at the end the little girl wakes up to find that the toy is restored.

It's a cute enough premise.

What works very well is the gorgeous artwork. It's colorful and whimsical. Sometimes sweet and sometime majestic.

I just wish that the art was all there was, and that most of the words were excluded. The beautiful font that says "Six Geese a Laying" and "Twelve Pipers Piping" (for example) is all that is really needed. The images speak for themselves (in my opinion) and the addition of lines like "The Pipers piped us right up to Santa's front door" just detract from the story.

A lovely variation of the TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS, this book would be lovely to share with children. I just wouldn't read the text, but would suggest children show me where the 5 Golden Rings were, and we'd make up the story in our own words.
Profile Image for Margaret Chind.
3,109 reviews210 followers
December 30, 2015
I'm stuck between 4 or 5 stars. I read an advanced copy and love it. I this one and her former The Nutcracker to join our Christmas shelf! Glittery textured covers are a powerful magnet for me as well as my little girls and this book is enchanting. It takes an eager little girl a music snow globe and imagination on an enchanting ride with Santa through the lyrics of the twelve days of Christmas. This is unique to other classic juvenile picture books that have told the story of the song and I truly adore this version with it's English-American influence.

I received this product free for the purpose of reviewing it. I received no other compensation for this review. The opinions expressed in this review are my personal, honest opinions. Your experience may vary. Please read my full disclosure policy for more details.
Profile Image for Beverly.
5,068 reviews4 followers
December 5, 2013
Lovely, lovely watercolor paintings. And that little West Highland Terrier that shows up in several of the spreads? Yes, that is indeed McDuff of the Rosemary Wells series (illustrated by Susan Jeffers).
In this version, a little girl accidentally breaks her snow globe of the Partridge in a pear tree. Later, she rides in Santa's sleigh, and sees the rest of the 12 gifts of Christmas on the way to Santa's workshop.
Profile Image for Isabelle Parenti.
Author 1 book
November 24, 2022
With beautiful illustrations, this adaptation of The Twelve Days of Christmas is very fun! Santa comes to the rescue in this retelling and it is just perfect for anyone looking to get into the holiday spirit!

This book also served as inspiration when writing my own Lisée At The Ballet: The Nutcracker. Hoping to have the same magical quality that might encourage young children to dance along! I have loved having this book on my shelf and Jeffers does a fantastic job. If you haven't read this version of The Twelve Days of Christmas, I highly recommend it!
Profile Image for Heather.
1,946 reviews1 follower
December 8, 2013
Beautiful illustrations but the added story is odd and not at all necessary. It's a book based on a song and that's ok it doesn't have to be turned into something more. I did appreciate that it didn't repeat the entire song over and over like some book versions do. If you are reading the book you probably know the song and can choose to either sing it to your child or not. I did and I think O enjoy me flubbing it here and there hehe.
Profile Image for Diane.
6,530 reviews
July 5, 2017
Gorgeous illustrations highlight this story that mixes the 12 days of Christmas with the story of a little girl who sneaks downstairs on Christmas Eve. She finds (and breaks) a present left by Santa - a snow globe of a "partridge in a pear tree." She falls asleep and finds herself in Santa's sleigh, experiencing all the characters of the remaining 11 days of christmas.
Profile Image for Shelli.
4,985 reviews41 followers
December 2, 2013
Nicely illustrated slightly altered change of the classic tale The Twelve Days of Christmas. Personally I love when the previous days gifts are repeated on each new day, but this telling does make for an easier and shorter read aloud.
Profile Image for Carolynne.
813 reviews25 followers
December 13, 2013
Delightful new version of this traditional Christmas song, with a little back-story about a girl who accidentally ruins a special gift but is able to own up to it. Humorous as well as beautiful drawings.
Profile Image for Angelica Dimeo.
161 reviews41 followers
December 22, 2013
I read my 4 year old this book everyday when he asks.
I like reading it to him because i can teach him counting as well as reading at the same time. I also love the illustrations in this book they are beautiful.
Profile Image for Alice.
4,195 reviews34 followers
December 13, 2014
Blah Blah Blah!! 12 Days of Christmas with a twist. She breaks her snow globe Partridge in a Pear Tree...but on Christmas morning the snow globe is fixed!!
Displaying 1 - 25 of 25 reviews

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