Review Blog

Dec 21 2016

The twelve underwater days of Christmas by Kim Michelle Toft

cover image

Silkim Books, 2007. ISBN 9780975839041 hbk, ISBN 9780975839034 pbk.
Take the traditional Christmas song, add the most magnificent creatures of the world's oceans, include important information about those creatures and immerse the whole in the beautiful painted silk artworks of Kim Michelle Toft and you have, quite simply, my most favourite Christmas book ever!
Toft has used the words of 'The twelve days of Christmas' not only to introduce readers to the dwellers of the deep, but has also built on the traditional concept of gift-giving at this time to emphasise what a precious present these creatures are - one that we may not enjoy for much longer if we don't start to value it now.
'All of the magnificent creatures in this book rely on the ocean for their survival and many were once found in abundance. This is no longer true. Modern technology, huge increases in the world's population and lack of management have resulted in some serious problems. These problems include over fishing, pollution from poorly treated sewage, effluents from oil spills, litter and global warming which is contributing to the destruction of coral reefs all around the world. It is up to nations, governments and the will of the people to work together to help conserve these incredible gifts from nature.'
Thus, as well as being a stunning visual feast, there is a serious message that can be emphasised, enabling this book to sit well within any sustainability curriculum. Even though students might not be able to replicate the artworks which are hand drawn with gold gutta on white silk then painted with brushes using silk dyes, the concept itself might inspire a class project of those things in the local region that might disappear if no action to preserve them is taken.
At the end of the book is an amazing poster containing all the creatures mentioned, and some versions have a CD of Toft's lyrics sung by Lisa Hunt. What a wonderful song to add to the Christmas repertoire.
Toft always writes and illustrates about her passion - the preservation of ocean life - and you can see all her publications online.
She is one who must have a place on your library's shelves - school or home.
Barbara Braxton

BUY IT NOW ON booktopia
Archived Blog Entries
Latest News
Indie Book Awards 2017
CILIP Carnegie Medal 2017 shortlist
CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal 2017 shortlist
School Library Association Information Book Award 2017
2017 UKLA Book Awards shortlists
International Children's Book Day 2nd April, 2017
Branford Boase Award 2017 longlist
Children's Book Award 2017 shortlist
Infographic: Teen reading habits
Victorian Premier's Literary Awards 2017
National Simultaneous Storytime 2017

ReadPlus Features
Print similar authors bookmark
Read similar authors
How to find lesson plans
Sample theme animation

Promote Reading
Staff holiday reading list 2016
South Australian Christian Schools Conference 2016 - Library Displays
Display calendars
Science fiction and fantasy lists SAETA conference 2015
Value of School Libraries
Library, Reading development and the Internet
Free Rights of the Reader Poster
Reviews: Author index
Books for boys
Bookmark and poster templates