‘Olive, the other reindeer’ by J. Otto Seibold and Vivian Walsh (published by Chronicle Books)
I think I’ve mentioned before that my sister is a genius at discovering books that I’ve never even heard of, but fall in love with every time. Last Christmas, she got me this book – one of the most lovely things I’ve come across in a long time. A couple of Christmases ago, she got us all a pop-up Advent calendar based on the ‘Olive, the other Reindeer’ book. Obviously I then had to go out and buy the book and it. Is. Amazing.
It’s about a dog called Olive, who mishears a line from ‘Rudolph, the red nosed reindeer’ (“All of the other reindeer…”. SO clever and SO like something that a child might do!) and is instantly convinced that she must be a reindeer herself, so heads off to the North Pole to help Father Christmas.
In a series of comical complications, she ends up putting her canine skills to good use to save the day, not least when she guides the sleigh home in the fog thanks to the smell of Mrs Claus’ cookies.
The dry wit in both the text and the illustrations is superb and this book is a perfect example of the picture book genre, where the marriage of words and images is greater than the sum of its individual parts (though those parts are pretty darn fab anyway).
This is another quirky and well-designed book, but one where style is never left to compensate for a lack of substance. I guarantee you’ll enjoy this as much as any of the children for whom you may ostensibly buy it 😉 Oh, and to leave you on a cliffhanger, the final sentence is a brilliantly pitched nod to the abrupt way children often end their stories…