Monday, December 17, 2012

12 Days of Christmas Picture Books - The Wild Christmas Reindeer by Jan Brett

Welcome to Day 5 of our 12 Days of Christmas Picture Books series! Last night was super Christmasy around here, so now we're all in the mood of the holiday in a big way. First we painted our salt dough ornaments - for a not-so-crafty mom these came out pretty darn good, I must say. Then I made some hot chocolate, we snuggled down around the fireplace and watched Rudolph. Such a classic bit of Christmas viewing, straight from my childhood to Sprout's (and it warms my heart to see how much he loves it!).

Afterwards, though, we started talking a bit about reindeer and I realized that Sprout has really never read any books about them. Fortunately I'd already brought home what's probably the best Christmas book about reindeer ever, Jan Brett's The Wild Christmas Reindeer. As with many of Brett's books, this one has a decidedly Scandinavian flair, and since that's a part of the world we don't often read about, it's especially fascinating for Sprout. As expected, Sprout balked a bit at the unfamiliar names of the reindeer - coming on the heels of Rudolph, Brett's version seemed "wrong" -- but he liked the more realistic illustrations quite a lot.

The story is one that kids will identify with, as it captures the often tumultuous process of bringing order to the world of wild things (much like . Teeka is proud to be helping Santa with his reindeer this year, but it's a big job - she's got to find the reindeer, who've been running wild, and tame them enough that they can pull Santas sleigh. Determined to do a good job, Teeka's very firm. Unfortunately her attempt to get everyone in shape results in near disaster. -- and then Teeka's forced to admit that her way of getting things done, by yelling and pushing, isn't at all the best way.

While Sprout was dazzled by the illustrations in this book, the message of Brett's story really hit home for me as a mom. At this busy time of year, with so much to get accomplished, it's easy for me to let my temper run short, especially with my kiddo. But honestly, the best way to achieve my goals is to step back and remember to be patient. And then things will come together, just as they do with Teeka and the reindeer, for a beautiful, not-so-perfect holiday at last.

The Wild Christmas Reindeer by Jan Brett, published by G.P. Putnam's Sons
Ages 3-7
Source: Library
Sample: "Tundra gave her the most trouble. Teeka didn't know that he considered himself the leader and was not used to being bossed around. He liked to stay next to Twilight, but she was separated from him and running near the front. When they got to the barn, Teeka put them in different stalls. Tundra snorted impatiently."

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