Six super stories about reindeer

Published on: 20 December 2023

Author Caroline Crowe shares her favourite books about Santa’s beloved reindeer. 

We at BookTrust love an animal book – especially ones about reindeer! We asked Caroline Crowe for some recommendations. 

The stories in my Santas New… series are all centred around something vital to Santa suddenly getting lost or broken just before the big day and the funny things that happen when the elves try to fix the problem. Poor Santa has already lost his beard and faced a broken sleigh in the first two books, but how will he cope when Rudolph does one loop the loop too many and ends up at the vets? I had an awful lot of fun imagining what might happen if the elves suddenly had to find a last-minute replacement for the most famous reindeer of all and I hope the story inspires some festive chuckles. 

Santas flying reindeer are the perfect example of the magic that gets sprinkled around at Christmas time and thatreflected in the number of stories that theyve inspired. Here are just a few of my favourites. Happy Christmas!   

Dasher by Matt Tavares 

Ever wondered how Santas sleigh came to be pulled by a team of reindeer in the first place? Trapped with her family in a travelling circus, Dasher dreams of a life in the North Pole. When the chance to escape comes unexpectedly one night, she sets off in search of the magical place shes only heard described in the stories her mother tells. A chance meeting with Santa and his exhausted horse leads to her dreams of a life outside the circus with her family coming true. I often wish there were more picture books with bigger chunks of text like this one and the illustrations are gorgeously emotive. 

Tiny Reindeer by Chris Naylor-Ballesteros 

Tiny Reindeer is too small for all the jobs that need doing in the North Pole at Christmas, but when he discovers a letter from a little girl whose Christmas wish is for a reindeer to pull the toy sleigh her grandad made her, he comes up with a plan. A lovely story about finding your place in the world – with a little bit of help from Santa. 

Last Stop on The Reindeer Express by Maudie Powell-Tuck, illustrated by Karl James Mountford 

I love a story that includes a secret door to a magical place and what better time to believe in a little bit of magic than Christmas? Mia has missed the last posting day to send her dad a card, but thankfully the Reindeer Express is on hand to save the day. With doors to open and beautiful cut-outs, this story is a comforting reminder that even though friends and family might not be physically with us on Christmas Day, we are still in each otherhearts. 

Ollies Christmas Reindeer by Nicola Killen 

When Ollie is woken up by the sound of jingling bells, she cant help but investigate. Her curiosity leads to the discovery of one of Santas reindeer who has lost his collar of silver bells. After reuniting the collar with its owner, Ollie is treated to a magical moonlight flight by her new friend. Splashes of red in an otherwise black and white colour palette beautifully conjure the feel of a Christmas Eve night. 

Thats Not My Reindeer by Fiona Watt, illustrated by Rachel Wells 

I loved reading these tactile books with my children when they were little. In this Christmassy version youll need to make your way past reindeer whose ears are too velvety, whose bells are too sparkly or whose tail is just too hairy before you get to Rudolph and his perfectly shiny, red nose. A lovely Christmas book for the smallest readers. 

The Robin and The Reindeer by Rosa Bailey, illustrated by Carmen Saldaña 

More Christmas magic in this lovely story that imagines how a young reindeer came to have a glowing red nose and fly for the first time. Full of evocative descriptions, its a slightly longer but still highly illustrated book, and perfect for sharing at bedtime in the lead-up to Christmas.I particularly love the robins wise advice to his new friend:The world is very bigBut its all yours if youre brave enough to find it.’  

Santa’s New Reindeer by Caroline Crowe and Jess Pauwels is out now. 

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