Book Advent – 18th December The Twelve Dogs of Christmas by Alison Ritchie illustrated by Marisa Morea

This is a jolly, rhyming picture book providing a different sort of countdown to Christmas with lots of appeal for very young children. A good read aloud for the festive season.

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Christmas is approaching and one little puppy is very excited about his first ever Christmas Day. Everywhere he looks the preparations are underway with every dog in town helping out. However,  will so many eager assistants joining in the fun help or hinder and will everything ever be ready in time?

With links to the traditional song, The Twelve Days of Christmas, this would be a good picture book to share during the festive season. Whereas the song details presents arriving after Christmas Day this provides a countdown to the day itself. With Four French Bulldogs and Five Golden Retrievers being just some of the dogs joining in the preparations some children may like to identify similarities with the original lyrics. The rhyming text ensures that this would work well read aloud and the vibrant illustrations contain plenty to look at too. Having road tested this with the very youngest member of our extended family I can confirm that this appeals to the smallest of listeners as she is only seven months old. Maybe it helps if you are part of a dog loving family! The rhyming appeals to her too as do the busy pictures with so much that catches the eye.

The illustrations provide the opportunity to introduce counting games with very young children and to play spot the inquisitive pup on each page adding to the book’s value. The story also includes many Christmas traditions such as collecting the tree, preparing the cake, carol singers, the school play and wreaths on the front door which parents or teachers may like to talk about with under-fives in the build-up to the big day.

This is a cheery picture book and one that would be fun to share as part of a family’s annual Christmas preparations as they can compare the puppy’s countdown with their own.

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