by Greg Pizzoli
It may seem that this traditional rhyme has already been presented in every possible way, but Greg Pizzoli offers a fresh perspective. A page of pre-story illustration shows the famed “true love” reading a book and, presumably, getting gift ideas. The first page shows an elephant parent and child decorating their holiday tree, only to be interrupted by the “true love” with a wrapped gift that turns out to be a partridge in a pear tree. The real “story” here is not told in the over-familiar words but in the new-to-the-story pictures. Although the youngster’s joy increases with each gift, the parent shows signs of increasing dismay. Observant pre-readers and beginning readers will thrill as each lyrical addition presents a visual surprise undisclosed in the text. For example, “ten lords a leapin’” is shown to be ten frogs. While this makes sense, it is also absolute nonsense—an ingenious visual play on a strange holiday song. Readers will enjoy this story, and its happy ending.
Reviewer: Heidi Hauser Green