Alison Jay (Picture This) gives a warm Yuletide makeover to her classic picture book–puzzle format.
With the look of crackled porcelain compositions, Jay's interlocking images reveal two children slipping down the stairs on Christmas Eve, and follow them through to Christmas morning. A touch of magic is in the air, as the family dog roasts marshmallows near the fire, and brother and sister greet Santa with a hug, then board his sleigh.
Jay gives enchanting clues to famous Christmas songs, such as "'Twas the Night Before Christmas" (with a tiny mousehole on that page to prove "not a creature was stirring"), "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," "Frosty the Snowman" and "Jingle Bells." A banquet table overflowing with scrumptious-looking sweets, a workshop filled with toymaking elves, and Good King Wenceslas bidding the children farewell as they fly home with an angel (who sits atop the Christmas tree in their living room). Large two-page landscape views and smaller inset-style paintings add visual interest while just a word or two of text per page means the whole family can enjoy it. --Jennifer M. Brown, children's editor, Shelf Awareness