Olive, the Other Reindeer

Common Sense Media says

Modern holiday classic stars a spunky, imaginative dog.





What parents need to know

Positive messages

Olive is determined to help Santa and uses his many natural dog talents to do so.

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents should know that kids who love wordplay will especially love this very original book, which has a pop-up version and is also now a movie.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

When Olive overhears people singing along with the Christmas song, "Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer," she mishears the words. Instead of "all of the other reindeer," she hears "Olive, the other reindeer." From then on, she is convinced that the song is about her. Coupled with her own big imagination, that is enough to set off a long chain of events that include joining Santa's team, almost causing his sleigh to crash, collecting flutes in the snow, and ultimately saving Christmas and leading Santa safely back to the North Pole.

Is it any good?


From the lovable main character and her very original story to the uniquely crafted illustrations, this book is fun, fun, fun. Every kid will relate to Olive, even though she is a silly little dog. She is cute and friendly, a canine with a huge heart and an imagination to match. And, while those are the characteristics that lead her on her unlikely adventure, her other abilities, those common to dogs, are the ones that make her a hero in the end. She sniffs out the falling gumdrops and saves everyone, fetches flutes in the snow and, following the scent of baking cookies, leads the sleigh back home through the fog.

Though Olive's story is rather silly and very far-fetched, it's playfully humorous. And the illustrations, which Seibold draws on the computer, complement it perfectly. Light-hearted and expressive, his contemporary style adds color and originality to the whole Christmas scene.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about Olive's confusion. Why did she suddenly think she was a reindeer? Is this anything like the original Rudolph story? How? How is it different? Families will want to sing the old favorite "Rudolph, the Red-nosed Reindeer" -- with changes of course.

Book details

Authors:J. Otto Seibold, Vivian Walsh
Illustrator:J. Otto Seibold
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Chronicle Books
Publication date:October 1, 1997
Number of pages:40
Publisher's recommended age(s):5 - 7
Read aloud:5
Read alone:7

This review of Olive, the Other Reindeer was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Teen, 13 years old Written bycocoa puffs December 21, 2010

e.g. Perfect for older kids, but not for tweensfavorite book

Boys love this book. It is good to see a dog think she can fly. The book is funny.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Adult Written bynduns December 15, 2010

Surprisingly fun story even if you're not a kid

Although I'm a little surprised there isn't a review for the 45-minute film adaptation. That was also a lot of fun. (And surprising that Matt Groening made it) Honestly, I highly recommend both this and the movie. Both are absolutely brilliant in their own right and can appeal to both kids and adults in their own right.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Parent of a 9 year old Written byTora Gwen May 11, 2010

Too cute!

My daughter and I love this book! I bought it for her the Christmas she turned four, and she still loves it. The illustrations are absolutely beautiful, and she loves the way Olive does his best to help out Santa. He stands out and uses his talents to the best of his abilities. I honestly admire Olive a bit, as I probably wouldn't have had the courage to try something as daring as that. Addison admires Olive as well, too, and thinks he's adorable. She still asks me to read this to her every Christmas, and it's gotten to be a sort of tradition in our house. Overall, it's beautifully drawn and very nicely written. A great children's book.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models


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