Santa knows just the trick to bring his team of reindeer together for their Christmas Eve flight.
It’s Christmas Eve, and Santa (who appears to be white with light skin and white hair and is accompanied by a small dog, unnamed by the text) can’t find his reindeer. As he searches in vain, readers are treated to five spreads showing Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, and Blitzen cavorting about the snowy, nighttime, North Pole setting. Hillenbrand’s digital illustrations have a pleasingly soft visual aesthetic, and his text offers playful riffs on the coursers’ names: “Dasher dashed,” “Dancer danced,” and “Prancer pranced,” of course, but then Willenbrand reports that “Vixen vexed,” “Comet commented,” “Cupid crooned,” “Donner dozed,” and “Blitzen boasted.” The alliterative, assonant wordplay supports the story’s resolution, which is that the only way to get the reindeer to return to the sleigh is for Santa to call out “STORY TIME!” Then, all eight gather round “to hear their favorite story.” It is (what else?) the famous poem “A Visit From Saint Nicholas.” After thanking Santa for this gift of a story, the reindeer are hitched to the sleigh and then they take off to deliver “a merry Christmas to ALL…and to ALL a good night.”
A merrily-ever-after read. (Picture book. 2-5)