One Very Possible and Very Festive
2011 Holiday Illustration Before Breakfast #3

h1 December 3rd, 2011 by jules


“On the second day of Christmas
my true love gave to me two thatched huts.

Traditional homes in Africa are made from natural materials such as wood, mud and grass. The walls are made of mud. The roofs are made from bundles of grass or reeds. Animals have their own shelters, sometimes made from thorny bushes.
These are known as kraals or bomas.”

(Click to enlarge spread)

I lied. I’ve actually got two illustrations here.

In my quest to feature 2011 holiday titles this month, today I feature an illustration from A Stork in a Baobab Tree: An African Twelve Days of Christmas (published by Frances Lincoln in September), written by Catherine House and illustrated by Polly Alakija, a British artist living and working in South Africa (and who previously lived in Nigeria). An author’s note states that the idea for the book came to House when she heard her own children singing African words to the traditional holiday carol, “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” while they were living as a family in Zimbabwe.

No partridges, pipers piping, or gold rings. In this one, we’re treated to market traders, bright khangas, grazing goats, storytellers, woven baskets, and more. We keep drummers, though, as well as some dancers. The book includes, as you can see above, informational facts about Africa, and a closing author’s note indicates which African country is represented on each spread.

And, while I’m here, one more quick thing: Also from Frances Lincoln is Joy to the World! Christmas Stories from Around the Globe, originally published in 1998 in Great Britain. In this collection, Saviour Pirotta, originally born in Malta, has gathered early Christian folk stories from Syria (an illustration from that story is below), Malta, Mexico, Ghana, and Russia. The illustrations are by British illustrator Sheila Moxley. You may click on the image below to see it up close and the spread from which it comes in its entirety.


“…But the baby’s mother, a beautiful lady with long dark hair, smiled and patted the little camel on the head. ‘Have you come to see the newborn King?’ she asked. The wobbly little camel nodded. ‘And did you come all the way across the desert with your mama?’ The wobbly little camel nodded again. ‘You are so brave to have come all that way,’ said the beautiful lady…”
(Click to enlarge)

* * * * * * *

A STORK IN A BAOBAB TREE: AN AFRICAN TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS. © 2011 by Catherine House. Illustrations © 2011 by Poly Alakija. Published by Frances Lincoln Ltd. Illustration reproduced by permission of the publisher.

JOY TO THE WORLD! CHRISTMAS STORIES FROM AROUND THE GLOBE. © 2011 by Saviour Pirotta. Illustrations © 2011 by Sheila Moxley. Published by Frances Lincoln Ltd. Illustration reproduced by permission of the publisher.

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2 comments to “One Very Possible and Very Festive
2011 Holiday Illustration Before Breakfast #3”

  1. I love that you can’t keep yourself to one!


  2. Oooooh, if I were still teaching.
    We would be SINGING that Stork in a Baobab Tree thing. Oh, that would be WAY too much fun. I was the insane teacher that had the puppet show stage and the kids with the puppets, too — so THEY would get to sing it, and we’d get to have brightly-colored outfits on our puppets. Double win, and art projects from October onward, I am sure!!

    Oh, so fun. Must get this book so the nephews can sing it.


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