Dashing Through the Snow: Review of Niroot Puttapipat’s new Jingle Bells

Dashing through the snow…. in a one horse open sleigh…

If you’ve ever heard Christmas music, I imagine the song came through your head and you started singing along to the popular holiday tune, JINGLE BELLS!

Over the years, there have been many book renditions of this popular carol, but none have ever caught my eye as much as the new version from Candlewick illustrated by Niroot Puttapipat. This isn’t just any edition of Jingle Bells, it’s a “Magical Cut-Paper Edition.”

I was not sure what to expect going in with that description, but I was amazed when I opened the first page. Using only a color palette of white, black, red, and green, we see an illustration first of what probably comes to mind when most people hear Jingle Bells: a one horse open sleigh through the forest. Continuing to use the same colors, with a little bit of gold thrown in, we see the sleighing couple take off, laughing all the way.

Each page turn reveals different cuts in the paper that add to the magic of this song. We see the glow from the church windows, and eventually the couple with the sleigh arrives at the town’s majestic Christmas tree. The couple, whom we only see in shadow the whole story, eventually arrives at home with their tree, and we are left to infer that they are headed in for a joyous Christmas celebration.

And that’s when the surprise comes in. With the last page turn, a beautiful pop up scene emerges, and we get to see the tree, the lighted buildings, and the silhouettes of trees in the background as the town gathers around the tree. Not to be missed is the intricately cut one horse open sleigh.

It can be difficult to do something that has done before, but Niroot Puttapipat makes Jingle Bells an enchanting book to crack open at the holidays.

This book is available for purchase now through Candlewick Press.

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