This charming picture book with stunning illustrations captures the magic of Christmas and tells the story of Father Christmas and his reindeer, with a twist that will appeal to young children.
One Christmas Eve the smallest reindeer is exploring Father Christmas’s workshop when he accidentally falls into the gift-wrapping machine and finds himself being swept off on an adventure on Father’s Christmas’s sleigh. Just as you think things can’t get worse for the little chap he tumbles out of the sleigh to the city below where he lands on the roof of a tower block. Standing alone in the middle of the night and still wrapped in Christmas paper the poor little reindeer waits and hopes.
It is then that the story takes a happy turn as a young boy discovers the unusual present and removing the wrapping discovers the little reindeer. The boy and his new secret pet become very special friends and as the year progresses they spend more and more time together up on the rooftops. Before long the boy discovers that his new friend is a very special reindeer indeed.
This is such a lovely story of friendship and I think young children will be drawn to its magic. Michael Foreman’s wonderful watercolour illustrations add to the appeal and I particularly like the blue wash of the cityscape on the double page spreads. Questions are raised by the story and no mention is ever made of the boy’s family or why he spends time alone on the rooftops with his birds. There is something quite heartening about the boy’s love for creatures in the middle of a large and bustling city. The mix of old and new and the differing landscapes add to the appeal of this book. There are aspects to the story that lend themselves to discussion so this would be a lovely story to share in school, particularly for KS1. The ending is poignant and thoughtful which gives the book an added depth.
I love Christmas stories where there is a twist to the traditional and yet the magic is still kept alive and The Little Reindeer does that extremely well.