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“There was someone very special who needed the reindeer’s help that night,” – The Little Reindeer
The Little Reindeer
My Little Animal Friend
by Nicola Killen
AR Test, Picture Book
On the night of Christmas Eve, a young girl named Ollie is awoken by a jingling outside her house. She hurries to her window but sees nothing out of the ordinary. With her reindeer pajamas and red sled, Ollie adventures into the snowy night to find the source of the sound.
Stepping outside, she hears the sound again. She leaps onto her sled. Speeding down the hill outside her house, the sound becomes clearer. Eventually, Ollie traces the sound to the barren, dark woods outside of her neighborhood. Feeling brave, she runs into the darkness. There, she finds the source of the sound hanging from a tree branch. It is a red collar with silver bells. Ollie smiles and takes the collar but wonders who it belongs to.
Just then, she hears a new sound –the sound of footsteps crunching through the snow. A real reindeer is approaching. He eyes the collar in Ollie’s hands, and Ollie understands that the collar belongs to him. Ollie kindly returns the collar to the reindeer, who gestures his new friend to climb onto his back.
Suddenly, the two are soaring above the woods, over Ollie’s town, through the night sky. The reindeer softly lands in front of Ollie’s house. Ollie thanks her friend, but admits that she doesn’t want to say goodbye. However, she understands that this reindeer has a very special job to do tonight. Ollie goes back to her room, lies in bed, and pleasantly dreams of her adventure. Her reindeer friend jingles past her window once more, only this time, he is leading Santa’s sleigh. The next morning, Ollie is gifted a snow globe with a figurine of the reindeer inside. She smiles, knowing that she will always have something to remind her of that magical night and that she’ll see her friend next year.
The Little Reindeer is a fast and fun read for the Christmas holiday, with one to four short sentences per page. Its illustrations are mostly drawn in black, white, and gray, with red being the only color to stand out. The backgrounds are typically entirely blank or black, with chalk-like dots of snow to enliven the winter spirit. Detail-driven readers can have fun searching for Ollie’s stuffed reindeer hiding in every page.
Young readers who celebrate Christmas will relate to Ollie’s holiday spirit. However, all young readers will admire Ollie’s sense of adventure, her bravery, and her sparkling curiosity. Through Ollie’s journey, readers can learn that by following their bravery and curiosity, they can form their closest friendships and greatest memories.
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