You won't understand the premise of this book if you've never sung "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," so let's start there. The carol begins, "Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer / had a very shiny nose / and if you ever saw it, / You would even say it glows / All of the other reindeer / used to laugh and call him names / They never let poor Rudolph / join in any reindeer games." If you notice that "all of the other reindeer" sounds suspiciously like "Olive, the other reindeer," you've discovered the source of Olive's adventures! Olive is a dog. But when she hears this holiday tune, a bit of an identity crisis sets in. She decides she must be a reindeer and heads to the North Pole to see if she can join Santa's reindeer team.
Olive gets to the North Pole just in time. Comet (the biggest reindeer) uses a piece of extra ribbon to tie Olive to the reindeers' elaborate harness system. As the sleigh rose high in the sky, "Olive was surprised it was so easy to fly." (The sight of a dog dangling beneath Santa's sleigh will reduce readers to charmed giggles.) Despite Olive's lack of flying ability and the unfortunate mishap caused by the reindeers' distraction, she, in her inherent dogginess, proves to be useful as both a flute retriever and a cookie smeller.
J. otto Seibold and Vivian Walsh have written and illustrated four splendid books for children: Mr. Lunch Takes a Plane Ride, Mr. Lunch Borrows a Canoe, Monkey Business, and Free Lunch. Publisher's Weekly's assessment of the creators' work in Free Lunch also rings true for Olive, the Other Reindeer: "Seibold and Walsh specialize in street-smart art and convoluted story-lines ... Seibold's illustration style [is] a sort of cubism for the '90s. His computer-generated, airbrush-smooth characters resemble digital icons, but their asymmetrical quality lends them a hand-drawn warmth. The spreads are abuzz with comical details." This very silly, endearing book is sure to delight your favorite kids--and adults, too. (All ages)
From Kirkus Reviews
Instead of the lyric, ``All of the other reindeer,'' Olive the pup hears something else on the radio: ``Olive, the other reindeer.'' She concludes that she is to be Santa's canine helper, so heads up to the North Pole, to join the Christmas Eve flight. Dangling from a ribbon tied to Comet's reins, Olive looks more like a stray ornament than a reindeer, but her doggy talents of chewing, sniffing, and fetching rescue Father Christmas from multiple mishaps. The story is as slight as they come, but the art sings a song all its own. Seibold's gregarious cartoons create an avocado-and-tomato colored cartoon Christmas in which little details shine: In a scene of flutes falling out of the sky and into a snow bank, a cutaway shows a surprised bunny awaking to find its burrow pierced by a silver shaft. Children will like the sophisticated art, even without a tight storyline. (Picture book. 4-8) -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.