If you are looking for Christmas-themed books that tie into a non-fiction unit well, consider using these reindeer books as read alouds during the month of December. A reindeer-themed animal research unit is a great winter project for teaching reading, writing, and science standards in a fun and engaging way and learning about caribou. These reindeer books for kids are sure to help with your lesson planning!
This list of reindeer books is also great for sharing Christmas read aloud books with your elementary students the days leading up to winter break. They are such fun Christmas stories for children and will be sure to keep them engaged during a time of year when that feels nearly impossible!
This post highlights the following read alouds:
- Olive, The Other Reindeer
- The Wild Christmas Reindeer
- The Littlest Reindeer
- Reindeer Christmas
- The Great Reindeer Rebellion
- The Naughtiest Reindeer
- The Little Reindeer
- Reindeer Dust
- Imogene’s Antlers
- Reindeer Wish
- Dasher: How a Brave Little Doe Changed Christmas Forever
11 Reindeer Books
Here are some of my favorite reindeer books to share with elementary students! They are fantastic winter read alouds!
Olive, The Other Reindeer by J Otto Seibold
Olive, The Other Reindeer is a Christmas story about a dog that partakes in a Christmas tradition. After mishearing the lyrics to the song “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”, Olive, a dog, mistakenly figures that she is a reindeer so she heads to the North Pole to help Santa. When Olive arrives and tries to join the reindeer, Santa notices the little dog and decides to give her a chance. He fashions a ribbon to her body and fastens her to Comet so that she will be safe in the air. During their journey, the crew encounters some troubles, but Olive saves the day again and again. Ultimately, they find that, although she is not actually a reindeer, Olive is a great addition to the team!
The Wild Christmas Reindeer by Jan Brett
In The Wild Christmas Reindeer, Young Teeka is tasked with rounding up Santa’s reindeer and harnessing them to pull his sleigh. However, because they had been out of their harnesses for a year, the reindeer are quite unruly and difficult. Teeka realizes that she can command instant attention by shouting at the reindeer; they seem surprised at the little girl’s loud voice. Although this works for a short time, the creatures soon become less responsive to the shouting and bullying. They soon become impossibly tangled up in their harnesses. This causes Teeka to realize that perhaps she was too harsh. After apologizing to the reindeer, she tries a gentler approach and finds it to be more effective.
The Littlest Reindeer by Brandi Dougherty
In the story The Littlest Reindeer, Dot is a young reindeer that lives with her family at the North Pole. Out of all the reindeer who live in Santa’s Village, she is the littlest one. More than anything, Dot wants to help fly the sleigh this Christmas Eve. Everyone in Dot’s family tries to teach her the basics of flying, but she is just too small. Her friend Oliver, the littlest elf in the North Pole, tries to reassure Dot by telling her that there are many other things she can do well. They spend the day making a snowman, playing tag, making Christmas cards, and helping a baby fox find his mother.
Soon, Christmas Eve arrives and Dot sadly watches as the other reindeer take their running start, but then she notices a tiny present that fell out of Santa’s bag. Dot knows just what she needs to do to get that present back to the sleigh!
Reindeer Christmas by Mark Kimball Moulton
Reindeer Christmas is about a family that shows kindness towards an animal in need. One evening before Christmas, when two children and their grandmother are feeding animals in the forest, they come across an injured reindeer. They take the animal home and care for it by the fire until it seems to be healthy again. To their surprise, on Christmas morning, they awaken to a thank-you letter from Santa!
The Great Reindeer Rebellion by Lisa Trumbauer
The Great Reindeer Rebellion is about what happens when Santa’s reindeer are unsatisfied with their working conditions. It was the week before Christmas, and Santa was worried after receiving news that the reindeer were going on strike because they were upset about their working conditions. He decided that he would be able to easily find others to pull his sleigh. He wrote a “Help Wanted” ad, and soon there were many different creatures wanting to try out for the role. Santa tried dogs, cats, flamingos, kangaroos, and elephants, but none of the animals were able to do the difficult task. Eventually, Santa realized that he needed his reindeer, and so he promised to give them the conditions they demanded!
The Naughtiest Reindeer by Nicki Greenberg
In The Naughtiest Reindeer, when Rudolph gets sick on Christmas Eve, his sister Ruby must step in to fill the role. None of the other reindeer want her to join them because they know how flighty, energetic, and naughty she can be, but Santa insists. For the beginning of the night, the deliveries go just fine. Ruby tries to be on her best behavior, but she soon gets bored.
When Santa stops at a house to get cookies, Ruby squeezes in through the window of a house on the street and runs through it, knocking things over and causing chaos. She doesn’t stop after just one house, though; she ruins all of the homes on the street! Distressed, Santa hurries the reindeer home, but the damage has been done. When they get home, Santa realizes that, in the chaos, he had missed a house. Meanwhile, Ruby manages to give the two children the best Christmas of their lives!
The Little Reindeer by Nicola Killen
In The Little Reindeer, it is Christmas Eve night and Ollie had just drifted off to sleep when she heard a jingle outside her window. Ollie grabbed her sled and headed outside to follow the sound. She followed it into the forest and soon came across the source of the jingling: a collar circled with silver bells. As Ollie was wondering who the collar could belong to, she began to hear a new sound. Soon, a reindeer appeared in front of her! Ollie returned the collar, then hopped atop the reindeer’s back and they soared into the air. When they returned back to her house, Ollie drifted off to sleep while the reindeer rejoined Santa’s team and continued his journey through the night sky!
Reindeer Dust by Kate Dwyer
Reindeer Dust is a book about the origins of a special Christmas tradition. One Christmas Eve, Santa has so many presents to deliver that he doesn’t have time to feed his reindeer. To make matters worse, it is so foggy outside that the reindeer can hardly see where they are going. Meanwhile, young William has been watching the weather reports, and he knows that the reindeer might have trouble finding kids’ houses. He comes up with a solution: reindeer dust! With the help of his friends, William works hard to make the reindeer dust which will guide the reindeer to everyone’s homes. This book even includes a recipe for reindeer dust at the end so that children can make their own!
Imogene’s Antlers by David Small
Imogene’s Antlers is about a girl that wakes up with an unexpected new feature. One morning, when Imogene wakes up, she finds that she had grown antlers! They make getting ready in the morning difficult because they are so cumbersome. Her parents bring her to the doctor’s, but he can’t find anything wrong. The school principal doesn’t know how to help. Imogene’s brother, Norman, isn’t very useful either. Her mother decides that they must hide her antlers in a hat, but, when they have one made, it is much too large to be practical. When she wakes up the next morning, Imogene’s antlers are gone, but something else has replaced them!
Reindeer Wish by Lori Evert
In Reindeer Wish, when Anja discovers an orphan reindeer, she decides to adopt him and names him Odin. She plays her fiddle for him, takes him fishing, and he even accompanies her to school. However, as Odin gets older, he clearly misses living with other reindeer. Anja decides to do the right thing and brings Odin to Santa. Although she will miss him, she knows that he will be happier there. Odin joins Santa’s other reindeer, while Anja gets the puppy she wanted for Christmas!
Dasher: How a Brave Little Doe Changed Christmas Forever by Matt Tavares
In Dasher: How a Brave Little Doe Changed Christmas Forever, Dasher and her family live at J.P. Finnegan’s Traveling Circus and Menagerie. The reindeer are crammed into a small cage under the hot sun all day. People are always there to visit the reindeer. At night, Dasher listens to her Mama talk about a magical place under the North Star. There, the ground was covered with snow and they could roam about. Dasher wishes she could live in that magical place.
One night, when the wind blows open the reindeer’s cage, Dasher takes a chance and runs into the night. She follows the North Star for as long as she can. Eventually, she runs into Santa and his horse, Silverbell. Dasher helps Santa and Silverbell deliver presents to children all over the world. At the end of the night, Dasher realizes she is at the magical place her mother told her about. While she loved living in the North Pole with Santa, she missed her family. Santa helps Dasher rescue her family and bring them home. That Christmas, the family works together to pull Santa’s sleigh around the world. I liked this book so much I added it to my Starts With a Story collection!
These reindeer books make great read alouds for the month of December! Your elementary students will love listening to these stories and participating in thoughtful conversations surrounding the plot, characters, and settings of the stories. Check out the Dasher book companion for lesson ideas and activities based on this reindeer story.
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