Roly-poly Santa plunges to the ground when his sleigh breaks, and he meets an unlikely cast of reindeer substitutes.
Stranded and isolated in the snow, he stumbles upon a barn with numerous farm occupants. His drafted replacements need little encouragement to assist during the night's critical toy delivery. Though the animals' panicky expressions suggest otherwise, there are no roadblocks along the successful trip from house to home, and Santa generously rewards his new helpers. Glossy digital spreads accentuate humorous moments as incredulous faces register anxiety at their unusual predicament. Shifting perspective expands vast scenes as the imposing sleigh rockets through the snow-speckled sky. Glints of sparkly light radiate through clean nighttime scenes. There's little conflict to accelerate the slight storyline, and the earnest voice occasionally plods through instead of flying along the journey. “Delivering presents to all the children of the world is a big job to do in one night. They were so far behind schedule! They had to work twice as hard! There was barely time for cookies and milk this year!” Dynamic typography emphasizes each bang and bump during the ride, compensating for the minimal characterization to strengthen the clear-cut narrative.
A lighthearted lift for the holiday season, though the pat ending renders it a little more “ho-ho-hum” than “ho-ho-ho.” (Picture book. 4-8)