Dear Reindeer: The Reindeer Wish by Lori Evert
LONG, LONG AGO, FAR TO THE NORTH AND HIGH IN THE SNOWY MOUNTAINS THERE LIVED A KIND LITTLE GIRL NAMED ANYA.
ANYA HAD MANY FRIENDS AT SCHOOL, BUT SHE SOMETIMES GOT LONELY AT HOME.
MOSTLY SHE WISHED FOR A PUPPY.
Hoping that Santa Claus has received her Christmas wish letter, on the day before Christmas Anya goes out skiing in the perfect snow. She forgets about time and finds that it is growing dark and she is not yet home.
Suddenly, she meets an old friend perched in a fir tree.
"ANYA, I NEED YOUR HELP," SAYS THE CARDINAL.
"THERE IS A BABY REINDEER ALONE UNDER A TREE NEAR YOUR HOUSE. CAN YOU GET YOUR SLED?"
Following the bright red bird, Anya finds the lost baby lying under a tree and takes him home. The reindeer is tiny, but she gives him a big name to grow into--Odin, for the king of the Norse gods.
And Odin grows fast and soon is big enough to follow Anya to school, where the other children are delighted with their surprise visitor. Odin grows a lot over the summer, big enough for Anya to ride like a pony. He grows real reindeer antlers and when winter comes, he learns to pull her sled, which they use to bring home a tall Christmas tree. Anya is never lonely with Odin to be her friend.
But one day close to Christmas, when they are walking in the woods, the wild reindeer come near.
ODIN HAD A TEAR IN HIS EYE. WOULD HE BE HAPPIER IF HE COULD RUN WITH HIS HERD?
IT WOULD BREAK HER HEART TO LOSE HER BEST FRIEND, BUT SHE WANTED HIM TO BE HAPPY.
Anya does the right thing. She takes Odin to Santa Claus, who can always use a strong, young reindeer in his stable... and then Santa takes her to see his new puppies.
"CHOOSE ONE!" HE SAYS.
In the third book in their best-selling Anya series, The Reindeer Wish (Random House, 2016) author Lori Evert combines a dream-like story with the realistic but beautiful photographs of Per Breiehagen in a Christmas tale that evokes Jan Brett's Christmas classic, The Wild Christmas Reindeer, in its quaint Scandinavian settings, with snowy evergreens, cozy cottages, and brightly decorated knit sweaters and stocking caps, and all the Scandinavian Christmasy trappings. What primary grader wouldn't love to ride a reindeer to Santa's workshop and go home with a furry white puppy? It's a dream-come-true of a holiday story sure to please.
Evert and Breiehagen's other stories of their daughter Anya include The Christmas Wish and The Tiny Wish.