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Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Hardcover – September 30, 2014
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From School Library Journal
Gr 2–4—Written in 1939 for Montgomery Ward department stores, this is the original story that created an icon and inspired the classic song. Told in the style of Clement Clarke Moore's "A Visit from St. Nicholas," Rudolph of the glowing red nose is teased by the other deer, only taking comfort in the coming of Santa. "He'd get just as much (and this is what pleased him) as the happier, handsomer reindeer who teased him." On Christmas Eve, with a foggy night causing mishaps and endangering his mission, Santa turns to Rudolph to save the day. While not indicated, this version of May's story has been adapted somewhat, with several couplets removed and some changes to words and phrases. This modernizes and streamlines the text, but also affects the richness of the language. The large trim size and many spreads make this a fun and easy choice for families and Rudolph fans to share.—Brooke Sheets, Los Angeles Public Library
About the Author
Robert L. May created Rudolph in 1939, when his company, the Montgomery Ward department stores, asked him to write a Christmas story that they could give away to customers. Drawing on the tale of “The Ugly Duckling,” Mr. May penned the story of a sweet, homely reindeer shunned because of his glowing red nose. Little did he know his creation was destined to become a Christmas holiday classic. Over the next few years, the company distributed millions of copies of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. The book’s copyright was transferred to Mr. May in 1947, and under his ownership, Rudolph’s popularity soared. Commercial printings and cartoons quickly followed, and then, of course, came the song, which secured Rudolph’s place in Christmas history, and in our hearts, forever. Robert L. May died in 1976.
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Top customer reviews
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First, we have the bigotry among the reindeer. They were prejudiced against any deer whose nose wasn't jet black.
Then, we have poor little Herbie, the aspiring dentist whose toothy dolls with donkey teeth just aren't catching on.
Lastly, we have the Island of Unwanted Toys. I found that part so upsetting. To this day, I remember saying, "I don't like this part. The island is where you go when you're bad, like a hospital." (This was during the days when tonsillectomies were a dime a dozen). That part always made me sad and in the few times I watched this movie or read the story, I would always leave on that part.
No, I didn't like this story under any conditions. I liked it better when Santa only had 8 reindeer, Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Cupid, Donder, Blitzen, Comet.
I was very excited when our copy was delivered yesterday, because my 2-1/2 year old adores all things reindeer, and the illustrations are beautiful. However, after reading this to my daughter twice since it arrived, I've found myself stumbling over the wording frequently, because some of the prose does not flow well and is challenging to speak aloud. There have been a few spots where I had to stop and reread it because the punctuation and spacing made for unnatural pauses- some sentences begin on the left page, and then continue on the right page. Also, and I don't know if this is true to the original edition, but all the text is broken up into lines of two sentences, and there are many sentences that continue after the line breaks, so the speaking rhythm is just plain awkward. I had high hopes when I realized it was written similarly to "The Night Before Christmas", but it is not nearly as pleasant to read aloud.
I would have given this book one star based solely on the writing, but I do have to take into account the magnificent illustrations. I tend to buy books based on appearance- I know interesting illustrations will hold my daughter's attention until she is old enough to start reading them herself- and Antonio Caparo did not disappoint. His illustrations perfectly capture the magic of Christmas, and the lighting and glow of Rudolph's nose is simply breathtaking. I only wish it was as lovely to read as it is to look at.
The illustrations are adorable, and the story is just the right length for an 8 month old's attention span (though there were a few times we couldn't get through it). He will enjoy it even more a few years from now.