cover image 8 Tiny Reindeer: An Advent Calendar Adventure

8 Tiny Reindeer: An Advent Calendar Adventure

Robert Tinkler, illus. by Danesh Mohiuddin. Kids Can, $18.99 (168p) ISBN 978-1-5253-0464-4

“In the not-too-distant future,” a white-presenting Santa has mechanized Christmas by using Quickbuck Industry’s assembly machines and drones to deliver results; he’s subsequently laid off most of the elves as well as all the reindeer. Noble steed Rudolph now works for pallid-skinned Larchmont Quickbuck, a nefarious tech baron who plans to further his takeover of the holiday by any means necessary. Realizing his error, Santa tries to right his wrongs; believing that only his eight reindeer can save Christmas, he sends his last two elf employees, pale-skinned Delfina and brown-skinned Elvis, to recover them. Hologram-abetted bait-and-switches and a secret robot infuse this tech-forward Christmas story with slapstick humor. Bold hues and minimal shading by Mohiuddin (Princess Pru and the Ogre on the Hill) evoke classic comics and complement debut author Tinkler’s physical comedy–filled narrative. Both a goofy jaunt and an earnest examination about the underappreciation of human connection and overreliance on technology, this secular tale, based on a podcast of the same name, posits that Christmas’s heart originates from the many generous and hardworking individuals who make the holiday possible. Ages 7–10. (Sept.)

Correction: A previous version of this review misstated the illustrator's name.