Roger the Reindeer by Ken Lake
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Roger the Reindeer, in Ken and Angie Lake’s series The Diaries of Robin’s Toys, centres around illiteracy. Roger leaves home not knowing how to read or write, and this gets him into all sorts of trouble. He eventually learns to read and write, then is offered a job with Santa.
The series features toys coming to life and telling their own stories to Robin and Grandad, but it took too long for Roger to come into the story, and the parallel between Roger’s illiteracy and Robin’s Italian classmate who can’t read or write English is diluted by a lot of extra narrative detail, meaning the intended audience of 7+ is in danger of missing the message.
The book’s layout is a diary format, with dark text, notebook lines and small illustrations, some of which are great, but many of which seem to act mainly as space fillers, but other than but other the date and time after the prologue the ‘diary entry’ covers several days. It’s probably just me being pedantic, but having a ‘diary’ written in third-person narration with only one hint of a date doesn’t hold up as a diary.
This is the only book from this series I have read, and while I love the idea of toys telling the stories of their own individual histories, I believe the execution could have been much tighter – it’s more a conversation with a reindeer than a dairy.
This book was given to me for free through Goodreads First Reads.
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