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Summary: It is Christmas vacation and William is touring Virginia with Aunt Mary Jean and cousin Madison. Eleanor didn't get to go (because she broke her leg), but she tells us about all of the things her brother sent her. It starts with one cardinal in a dogwood tree and ends with 12 plovers flying in the air at Virginia Beach. This is a picture book that combines Virginia history with the well-known 12 Days of Christmas song.
Type of Reading: playtime reading, independent reading, read aloud book
Recommended Age: read together: 4 to 8; read yourself: 10 and Up
Interest Level: 4 to 9
Reading Level: 5.1
Age of Child: Read with a 9-year-old girl.
Young Reader Reaction: "This was fun!" It helped that our third-grader is studying Virginia history and knows many of these places.
Adult Reader Reaction: This is a clever way to introduce state history and symbols. With all of the repetition it is definitely memorable. The author has done an incredible job making this a book to share. The letters William writes are perfect for an adult (or older sibling) to read, and the chorus (the 12 days) is perfect for new readers. The illustrations do not overwhelm the reader, but at the same time they offer plenty to look at while Mom/Dad read the letter.
Pros: Families will enjoy sharing this story built around a beloved holiday song and Virginia history.
Borrow or Buy: Borrow, at least. If you live in Virginia, this would be a good one to have at home starting by about second grade when kids start learning about the history of the commonwealth.
Educational Themes: There is plenty of Virginia history in this story about a young boy's Christmas vacation. The endpapers have a US map so you can see where Virginia is (and compare it to where you are). There are also some great facts and profiles in the back.
Notes: A Reading Tub® volunteer submitted this review. This is from her personal library.