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Review: ‘Twelve Days of Christmas’ for the iPad

Having trouble remembering the lyrics to this traditional holiday song? You won’t after listening to (and playing with) this app from Polk Street Press.

Screen shot from 'Twelve Days of Christmas' (Lesley Breen Withrow) Polk Street Press

Title: Twelve Days of Christmas
Illustrated by: Lesley Breen Withrow
Published by: Polk Street Press
Developed by: be | daronco, LLC
Arranged and Performed by: Amee BellWanzo and Brad Snavley
Platform: iOS, requires 4.3 or later
Version: 1.0.1
Price: $.99

K-Gr 5-Illustrated with stylized animals and multiethnic courtiers, this tutorial is a fun diversion that will help those learning the famously tricky lyrics. It offers two main options: “playalong” or “singalong.” “Playalong” should perhaps be tried first as it is a game that teaches children the song by having them tap the correct illustration—the numeral 5 with a diamond ring, for example, or a 10 with a picture of a leaping lord, to advance the carol. The illustrations in muted primary colors are enhanced with slight animations: leaves that fall, a partridge that flies, snowflakes that spin, and pipers piping.

After they’ve learned the words, users can sing along with the pleasant-voiced female singer accompanied by piano music using the “singalong” option, or record their own music. As the song is sung, viewers will see a line of lyrics in the karaoke-like scroll at the bottom of the screen. iPad 2 users can also record a video of themselves performing the song. This app will have families and classrooms joining in with gusto.—Henrietta Thornton, Library Journal