Age Range: 4 to 7
Lucy’s Secret Reindeer is a beautifully written chapter book for younger children. It’s a lovely story to read in the run up to Christmas and it would be a perfect present for Saint Nicholas to put in a child’s shoes or boots on December 6th.
The Story: When Lucy writes a letter to Santa she asks if she can help him in any way. Santa replies by leaving his smallest reindeer, Starlight, in Lucy’s shed. Starlight is sick and Santa needs Lucy’s help to get him better. It is a top secret mission so unbeknown to her family Lucy tries to feed and keep Starlight warm but Starlight’s condition worsens. When Lucy’s older brother Oscar uncovers her secret he helps her smuggle Starlight into the house. Starlight recovers and Santa treats Lucy and Oscar to a very special sleigh ride. Animal lover Lucy misses Starlight but receives the special Christmas present that she has asked for.
All the ingredients of a traditional Christmas (snow, presents, a Christmas tree and Christmas baking) are woven into Lucy’s Secret Reindeer but the story also paints a realistic picture of family life with its squabbles, love and the relationships between family members. The main focus of the story is Lucy’s care of Starlight but Anne Booth has perfectly captured the bickering and the love between Lucy and Oscar. Oscar is scathing about Lucy writing to Santa but he does comes to her aid when she needs help with Starlight and he enjoys his sleigh ride with Santa and Starlight who are checking their route for Christmas Eve.
Lucy is a character that children can relate to and they will understand the little white lies and stories she tells to conceal the real reasons behind many of her actions, for example she tells Mum she wants carrots for breakfast to hide the fact that she is trying to feed Starlight. Lucy experiences a wide range of emotions throughout the story, we share her fear when Starlight’s condition worsens, her sadness when Starlight goes back to Santa and her joy when she receives the present she has asked for.
This feelgood story of a family Christmas is given a large helping of Christmas magic with the appearance of Santa. Santa doesn’t need a Satnav, he has Starlight to help him and it is Lucy’s love and care which brings Starlight back to health and ensures that everybody receives their presents on Christmas Day.
My daughter was disappointed when we finished reading the story, she enjoyed it so much that she didn’t want it to end! The book has beautiful soft pencil illustrations by Sophy Williams and our favourite picture shows Lucy and Oscar riding in the sleigh. Sophy has also illustrated the two Christmas recipes which are included at the end of the book. We made the reindeer biscuits, they’re delicious.
Lucy’s Secret Reindeer has a lovely sparkly cover and with only nine chapters it isn’t a very big book. It’s the perfect size for a Christmas stocking and a great present for a beginner reader.