The Robin and the Reindeer
Hodder Children’s, 2021
96pp., pbk., RRP $A16.99
The wintery white landscape is a wonderland for Little Reindeer who is learning about snow and cold for the first time. So entranced is she by her surroundings that she doesn’t notice that the herd has moved on on its journey to the caves in the warmer south. She is lost and the snow has already covered their tracks so she has no idea which way to go. But she remains calm, remembers her mother’s words about digging a hole in the snow to keep warm and waits out the night.
Through the snowflakes that are still falling the next morning she catches a flash of red – curious because Leader told her all the birds had also travelled south – and a robin with his scarlet breast appears. Together, with the robin perched on Little reindeer’s nose like a beacon, they travel through the forest until…
This is a simple story beautifully told and illustrated in a muted palette that reflects the setting, making it a great choice for a calming read at the end of a boisterous session or day. A cross between a picture book and a novel, it is ideal for those making that transition as it has the supports needed such as just a sentence or two on each page to maintain interest even though it is somewhat longer than a regular picture book. Just as Little Reindeer realises she is becoming “a real reindeer” when she sees her budding antlers, so readers will understand that they are becoming ‘real readers”. Just charming.