CM . . .
. Volume XIX Number 21. . . .February 1, 2013
It is difficult not to sing along while reading Bruce Nunn's Christmas love-letter to Nova Scotia culture. A Bluenose Twelve Days of Christmas is written with the same meter and pattern as the traditional Christmas song The Twelve Days of Christmas with each of the days being replaced with an object or activity emblematic of the East Coast. The narrator's true love receives, among other things, four coal seams, six boats a-fishing, and ten lights a-keeping.
Nunn's version of A Bluenose Twelve Days of Christmas is not a particularly challenging read, but there are some elements that younger readers might not understand upon first read: what a coal seam is, for instance, or the definition of a "plover." The story's link to the cultural history of Nova Scotia makes the book an excellent entrance point for teachers or parents to introduce young readers to aspects of Eastern Canadian history.
The design of the book, itself, makes reading the text a rewarding experience. Doretta Groenendyk's illustrations are bright, bold, and whimsical. While there is a nod to realism in her paintings, the off-kilter proportions and childlike freedom of the images give the book a festive and fun feel. The text pages are also lively and pleasant, with a background of soft snowflakes and strings of outdoor Christmas lights delineating paragraph breaks. It is this attention to detail that renders A Bluenose Twelve Days of Christmas a unique Christmas read, one that offers a sense of home for Eastern Canadians – and what more can one ask for at Christmas?
Jillian Sexton has a BA (Hons.) in English Literature from Memorial University and is currently completing her MA in Communication at Carleton University. She lives in Ottawa, ON.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.