The 12 Days of Christmas
Little Simon, 2006
“On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…”
There’s really nothing new about the words of this familiar Christmas song, first published in England in 1780. There are countless print versions of it and versions for various countries “straight” and parody alike. But what sets this interpretation apart is its incredible illustrations for they are remarkably crafted pop-ups. Meticulously cut and folded so they pop up perfectly as the page is opened, they reveal the magic of the song in a way like no other. “Paper engineering” is a more accurate descriptor of Sabuda’s skills and from the partridge with the pears through to the magnificent Christmas tree at the end, complete with lights that work, you enter a world of magic and marvel. Crafted mainly in white card with the occasional addition of silver they are just extraordinary and his imaginative way of getting all the characters into the illustration is amazing. Just look at “eleven ladies dancing”!
Even though this is an expensive purchase in relation to other Christmas books, it’s an investment as revealing each page could become part of an annual Christmas tradition and part of your Christmas Countdown of reading Christmas stories.
Sabuda continues to enchant with a range of other books and Christmas cards and he reflects the spirit of this time of giving by offering instructions for some designs as well as answering questions about the construction of the books. In fact his website is a treasure trove that could well come in handy when the thrill of Christmas has passed and the long summer break seems endless.