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The Worst Twelve Days

of Christmas

Author: Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen

Illustrator: Ryan Wood

Abrams Books for Young Readers

ISBN-10: 1419700332

ISBN-13: 978-1419700330

  1. Book Description

  2. In this spirited reworking of the classic song “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” Joy has to deal with her first Christmas with a new baby brother—and nothing could be worse. He drools on the ornaments and ruins the presents, he eats all the cookies and smashes the snowmen, and he’s on the verge of taking over the whole holiday. Joy’s patience runs out as the baby’s mishaps pile up. A sweet surprise turns the tables on Joy, who eventually appreciates what her baby brother adds to the holiday.

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Buy this Book


Six-year-old Joy has a less-than-joyful attitude at Christmas due to her boisterous baby brother, Sam.

The text intersperses rhyming couplets with the familiar structure of the often-parodied Christmas song, but instead of a partridge in a pear tree, the repeated conclusion here is “a stinky baby messing with the tree.” Little Sam, who clearly needs more adult supervision, wreaks havoc on Joy’s Christmas decorations and activities, ripping open her wrapped gifts, eating the heads off her gingerbread men and snapping the wings off her beloved treetop angel. Joy huffs off to bed in a snit on Christmas Eve, but Christmas morning brings a happy resolution: All the broken items have been mended (where possible), and Sam says his first word, “Joy.” Computer-generated illustrations have moody, glowing lighting suited to Joy’s mercurial emotions, and creative use of swirling lines and jagged edges indicate the out-of-control nature of the household. Joy looks more like a teenager than a 6-year-old, and Sam is incredibly dexterous for his age, but the illustrations capture the bold baby’s impish transgressions with flair.

Some joyless adults will object to the “stinky baby” theme, but lots of kids will find the mischievous mayhem a refreshing alternative to sticky-sweet

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