From the celebrated creator of Red and Lulu comes the story of a brave little doe who meets Santa and changes Christmas forever. Dasher is an adventurous young reindeer with a wish in her heart. She spends her days with her family under the hot sun in a traveling circus, but she longs for a different life — one where there is snow beneath her hooves and the North Star above her head. One day, when the opportunity arises, Dasher seizes her destiny and takes off in pursuit of the life she wants to live. It’s not long before she meets a nice man in a red suit with a horse-drawn sleigh — a man named Santa. And soon, with the help of a powerful Christmas wish, nothing will be the same.
In this prequel to the Rudolph story, Tavares explains how Santa ended up with his original reindeer crew. Young Dasher and her reindeer family languish in a circus, displayed as zoo animals under the hot sun by day and pulling the menagerie's wagons at night. "The air was crisp and cold," says Mama, recalling her birthplace under the North Star, "and the ground was always covered with a cool blanket of white snow." Seizing an opportunity to escape, Dasher follows the North Star, and finds Santa and Silverbell an affable, plodding horse who struggles to pull the heavy load: "I'm sorry, Santa. The sleigh is just so heavy this year." Happily for all, a bit of magic assists gift delivery, and Santa's gratitude leads to granted wishes and a reindeer reunion. Tavares's classically painted figures are lit by moonlight and falling snow in this cozy antidote to holiday hullabaloo. Ages 4 8.