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HomeNewsYK writer swaps partridges for ptarmigans in NWT-inspired book

YK writer swaps partridges for ptarmigans in NWT-inspired book

The Christmas classic ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’ is getting revamped with a northern flair by two Yellowknife residents in their new children’s book ‘A Ptarmigan in a Birch Tree’.

A Ptarmigan in a Birch Tree cover (courtesy Facebook)
A Ptarmigan in a Birch Tree cover (courtesy Facebook)

“It’s a parody of the 12 days of Christmas, except it has an NWT theme,” said author Amber Henry.

Henry became inspired to put her own spin on the classic tune after her children got four books in the span of two years that parodied Canada as a whole.

“After reading those countless times and having the songs stuck in my head I started to wonder what it would be like to have a northern-themed parody of the song,” Henry explained.

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So Henry teamed up with illustrator and fellow Yellowknife resident Heather Duinker to swap out a partridge for a ptarmigan, swans for snow mobiles, and encompassed what they believe to be the essence of a Christmas in the North.

“I tried to pick out elements of the winter experience here that everyone would identify with, things that they’ve done or will do or would like to do,” Henry explained.

“There’s snowmobiles, there’s parkas, there’s northern lights and all kinds of things in there that I think kids will be really interested in… singing about.”

Henry joked that there’s even a house boating scene in the book inspired by Yellowknife. “So some people might recognize their own home.”

Two friendly bison appear throughout the book, encouraging readers to participate in activities. The book is recommended for children in preschool all the way up to Grade 5.

A Ptarmigan in a Birch Tree is available online, and will have an official launch and sing-along at the Yellowknife public library on Nov. 12.

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