Santa’s Busy Reindeer by Ed Allen, illustrated by Nathaniel Eckstrom (Scholastic Australia)
HB RRP $16.99
Reviewed by Jenny Heslop
Ed Allen has produced another sweet reverse counting picture book version of Ten Green Bottles and this time it is especially for Christmas. Here, Santa’s reindeer are busily getting ready for the festive season as one after another drops off the page for different reasons, until finally the last (red-nosed) reindeer couldn’t reach very far, and there were no more of Santa’s reindeer left to put up the Christmas Star. Santa has to round them all up to pull the sleigh.
The illustrations set a playful tone, soft and light, with the reindeers going about their business with humorous consequences. As in the other versions, each reindeer has distinct characteristics which can be followed throughout the pages until it is their turn to disappear from the story. On every page also, the corresponding number is hidden somewhere.
The wording can be a little awkward at times, the rhythm is often lost in order for the rhyme to work, but this can be overlooked as it is a sweet Christmas book and sure to engage the very young with counting, funny situations and delightful pictures.