Santa's busy reindeer by Ed Allen
Ill. by Nathaniel Eckstrom. Scholastic, 2014. ISBN 9781743624180
(Age: 4+) Recommended. Christmas. Reindeer. Counting game. Rhymes. Paralleling the song of 'Ten green bottles', this rhyming story will entreat younger readers with its easy flowing style and rhyming words. The ten reindeer getting ready for Christmas get into all sorts of trouble, reducing their numbers down to one.
Each task they have to do reminds readers of the array of customary things to do around Christmas, and will encourage them to be involved themselves in these tasks either at home or in the classroom.
A long list of activities, from singing carols, putting up the lights and the tree, delivering Christmas cards, baking special food and trying to be nice is included in the song. Children will be able to do some of these themselves, or recall times in the past when these have happened, or be made more aware of things in their community that celebrate this event.
Eckstrom's illustrations are richly detailed using a variety of media to achieve his finished work. He uses oil paint on canvas as well as pencil drawings which he fills with colour, while adding images which are digitally created to produce mixed media images. Again a reader will have fun working out just what he has used and why, in creating his pictures. It adds another level of interest for the reader to contemplate the choices an illustrator has made in producing the work that he does. Santa's busy reindeer is great to read aloud (practise first) and can be sung using 'Ten green bottles' as its model.