Thursday, November 30, 2017

Review: The Little Reindeer by Nicola Killen

by Nicola Killen
Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books
Picture Book/Holiday
32 pages

An enchanting Christmas story about a magical yet unlikely friendship between a little girl and a lost reindeer, lovingly told and illustrated with red foil highlights and interactive die cuts.

When a jingling sound wakes her from her sleep, a little girl’s dreams come true when she meets a lost reindeer in the forest. They set off on a magical adventure and it becomes a Christmas never to forget. Nicola Killen’s evocative illustrations are sure to enchant in this beautiful book with die cut pages, foil, and flashes of festive red.


A charming tale, which carries the beautiful simplicity of wondrous Christmas magic.

Ollie has just snuggled into bed on Christmas Eve, when the sound of bells draws her to the window. Curious, she grabs her sled and heads outside to discover where the jingling is coming from. In the forest, she discovers a cheery collar with silver bells, and soon, the reindeer it belongs to. This is when her real adventure begins.

Ollie is a brave little girl with an adventurous spirit and mounds of curiosity. Even the reindeer costume she wears from the very first page—a characteristic which exists in the illustrations without explanation—makes it clear how much she feels at home in fun and fantasy. Her short but exciting trip is sure to invite young listeners/readers to dreams of their own, and the ending leaves with a comforting sense of Christmas warmth. But it's the illustrations which really make this book a treat.

The mostly black and white scenes express a comforting simpleness, while still being detailed enough to grab and hold young listeners/readers' attention. Bits of color are sprinkled in with careful thought, drawing emphasis in exactly the right spots. The added dabs of silver give the entire thing a touch of special significance, creating a more valuable feel.

This is a gentle book to snuggle up with under a fuzzy blanket and after a warm cup of hot chocolate. It warms the heart, allows Christmas dreams to fly and is sure to become a cherished favorite.


“An original and entertaining Christmas story with its own understated charm.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“A quietly magical tale of holiday miracles and nighttime adventure.” —Publishers Weekly 

“Killen works magic through simplicity in this understated holiday story…A perfect bedtime read; little ones will cozy up to this sweet book and drift off on their own reindeer-fueled flights of fancy.” —Booklist 

“An elegant book that has a calming effect; a perfect holiday bedtime story.” —School Library Journal 

And she is. . .

Nicola Killen worked in greeting card design for many years before embarkng on the master's course in children's book illustration at Cambridge School of Art. Her designs are featured on products for many retailers including Paperchase, John Lewis, Clintons, BHS, Sainsburys, Tesco, Boots, and Book Tokens. Since graduating, she has been illustrating and writing picture books, board books, and pop-up books. She lives in Cambridge and works in a studio she shares with friends.

1 comment:

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

This does sound like a delightful read for wee ones. Even older, because of the adventurous quality to her night-time adventure. Nice review.