About the Holiday
While traditions may vary, children around the world look forward to Christmas Eve night with its sense of wonder and magic. Anything, it seems, is possible on this special night—just as today’s book shows.
The Little Reindeer
By Nicola Killen
Ollie, dressed in her reindeer pajamas, had just drifted off to sleep when she heard a faint “jingle, jingle, jingle.” She woke and “rushed to the window, but all she could see was a blanket of fresh snow!” She picked up her sled and headed outside. Just as Ollie caught a falling snowflake, “she heard the magical sound again. Jingle, jingle, jingle.” She flopped on her sled and zipped down a hill, following the sound as it became clearer and clearer.
When Ollie came to the edge of the woods, she could hear the bells jangling louder and louder. “She took a deep breath and, feeling very brave, she ran into the darkness.” There, she saw a red collar “circled with silver bells.” She wondered whose it was. Suddenly, “a reindeer stepped through the crisp snow toward Ollie.” The reindeer knelt down as Ollie attached his collar. Then he bent lower to allow Ollie to climb on his back.
While Ollie thought that they might ride through the forest, she found herself soaring “up into the night sky, leaving the trees far below!” They flew over the town and the bay, over fields and forests through the snowy night. The reindeer brought Ollie home, landing softly in the snow right outside her door. Ollie didn’t want to leave her new friend, but she knew “there was someone very special who needed the reindeer’s help that night.”
Ollie quietly climbed the stairs to her room and quickly fell asleep, “dreaming of her magical journey.” She didn’t hear the jingle of the bells as her reindeer once more streaked across the sky. In the morning, Ollie unwrapped a very special gift that would remind her of her new friend until they met again next year.
Nicola Killen’s tale of imagination and the magic that children can find in Christmas will charm young readers. Adorable Ollie dreams of reindeer not only at night but all the time, as children can see in Ollie’s room that is filled with reminders of her favorite animal, including a book about reindeer, a reindeer bookend, reindeer sheets, reindeer wallpaper, a reindeer plush, and plenty of reindeer drawings.
Killen’s story has a dreamy feeling, prompting readers to wonder: is this nighttime jaunt real or not? A clue may lie in the fact that the reindeer wears a blanket of the same pattern as Ollie’s bedspread. Killen’s gray-scale illustrations are beautifully accented with touches of red and sprinkled with silver that glints from the sleigh bells, snow-topped trees, and in the magical swoop of the reindeer’s flight. Several die-cuts invite readers to follow Ollie into the night and through the woods and offers a peek out Ollie’s window to see her reindeer pass by as she sleeps.
A sweet story for little dreamers, The Little Reindeer is a classic tale that will enchant children around the holidays and beyond and would be a favorite addition to home bookshelves.
Ages 4 – 8
Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books, 2017 | ISBN 978-1481486866
Discover more about Nicola Killen, her books, and her art on her website
Christmas Eve Activity
Hanging Stockings Coloring Page
Hanging stockings by the fireplace is a fun Christmas Eve tradition! Get your crayons, colored pencils, or markers and enjoy this printable Hanging Stockings Coloring Page.
Picture Book Review