Dasher: How a Brave Little Doe Changed Christmas Forever is due in September. And soon after, the bookstore will be hosting the author Matt Tavares. It is always fun to see/hear the whys of a book. Why does the author pick this name? Or used that plot point? Did they have a say in who illustrated it? How closely did they work together? Did the author feel the art and text compliment each other? And if the author is also the illustrator (as it is in this case) why did they pick a more realistic looking apple or a less realistic tree?
With Dasher I wonder why Tavares decided to tell the story of the other reindeer and a partially jolly man. And I wonder why he picked the name of the horse, other than a very Christmas sounding name. But these are small points to the overall story. Dasher is a young reindeer who is in a traveling show with her family. Of course, their owner is cruel and will punish them if they try and escape. But Dasher cannot help wishing on the North Star. One day her wish of escaping is granted. And as she runs off towards the North Star of her mothers’ stories she runs into a man, a horse and a sleigh full of toys. And the rest is history.
This clever telling of how Santa and eight reindeer came into a partnership is fresh, fun and cozy. There is an old-school classic feel to the text. There is beautiful artwork that helps move the story along. These frame-able paintings bring to life the story.
While there is much going on in the story, this story is simple. It is a Christmas story but also a story about following dreams and family. It is just a cozy, feel-good (though a little tension, will Dasher be okay? Who is the man in the red suit? Will her family be rescued?) story. And a story that explains why Dasher’s name comes first in the line-up.