Nicki Greenberg, The Naughtiest Reindeer Takes a Bow, Allen & Unwin, Nov 2017, 32pp., $19.99 (hbk), ISBN: 9781760295653
Nicki Greenberg gets us reading along at a pace to match ’Twas the Night Before Christmas in the latest exploits of the naughty Ruby (Rudolph’s sister) who gets just a couple of things wrong before saving the day once again.
The text is a perfect read-aloud, with lots of contrast – a quiet opening, bursts of energy, building tension and sudden explosions – all rolling along in bouncy rhyme. Ruby’s friends, George and Amelia, and their school mates, get to help out, although their school Christmas play loses a bit of its impact when they all have to take off (literally).
Children will delight at reading the images which are often humorously at odds with the text. Light and dark is used to energetic effect. Illustrations depicting the school play especially amused me, with the players silhouetted in dark background looking nostalgically like the inkblot players in Greenberg’s graphic version of Hamlet.
This is a rewarding addition to the Christmas picture book oeuvre, from a classy author/illustrator.
Reviewed by Marita Thomson