Sunday, July 14, 2013

Book Review: 'The Twelve Days of Christmas in Illinois' by Gina Bellisario

✰✰½ A little girl named Mia is on a trip to visit her cousin in Illinois during the Christmas season. Every day for twelve days, Mia writes a letter to her family describing their adventures. Mia enjoys popcorn, learns about explorers Lewis and Clark, and sees bald eagles. Mia also has the chance to cruise down Route 66, eat S'mores, and visit Navy Pier. However, the fun isn't over yet. There's so much more to do and see. Kids will learn lots of fun facts and trivia as Mia enjoys an action-packed adventure in the Prairie State.

The Bottom Line: I picked up this title because I'm currently living in the state of Illinois; however, it wasn't exactly what I was expecting. While part of the book is a parody of The Twelve Days of Christmas, the words in this version seem a bit clunky and are not very lyrical. In addition to the parody part of the book, facts and trivia about the state of Illinois are presented to the reader in the form of letters. Unfortunately, the end of the story fell rather flat with the final letter on the twelfth day. This is followed simply by illustrations, and left me feeling like there should have been something more at the end like a thank you letter from the little girl to her cousin's family. Finally, at the very end of the book there is an additional page of Illinois trivia including a list of some famous Illinoisans (spelled Illinoisians in the book). That being said, I did enjoy Jeffrey Ebbeler's clever, cute, and colorful illustrations. Readers planning a trip to Illinois and looking for fun things to do with kids may want to check this out. Although the product description has an age range of 5 and up, this book is probably more suited for kids in grades 3 - 5.

Details: The Twelve Days of Christmas in Illinois written by Gina Bellisario & illustrated by Jeffrey Ebbeler. Hardcover picture book published by Sterling Children's Books in 2012. 32 p. ISBN: 978-1-4027-9733-0 Note: This book is part of Sterling's series, The Twelve Days of Christmas in America.

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