________________ CM . . . . Volume XIV Number 10 . . . . January 11, 2008


Buddy the Bluenose Reindeer and the Boston Christmas Tree Adventure.

Bruce Nunn. Illustrated by Brenda Jones.
Halifax, NS: Nimbus Publishing, 2007.
67 pp., pbk., $12.95.
ISBN 978-1-55109-636-0.

Subject Headings:
Christmas stories, Canadian (English).
Reindeer-Juvenile fiction.
Nova Scotia-Juvenile fiction.

Preschool-grade 6 /Ages 4-11.

Review by Alison Mews.

*** /4


The deer was different from most. His snout was brightly lighted like a brilliant Christmas bulb.

"Hey, he has a very shiny nose," said Pilot Pete.

Santa's most famous reindeer of all? Nope. Close, but not quite. This little dude had a schnozz of a very different shade.

That little old pilot
with his helicopter buzzin'...
he knew in a moment
it was Rudolph's first cousin.

The bright blue light on the little deer's face was a clear clue. A blue clue. This wasn't Rudolph, the Red-nosed Reindeer.

No, this little guy was uniquely Nova Scotian. "Why, that's Buddy, the Bluenose Reindeer!"


Buddy, the Bluenose Reindeer, is back, and this time he's helping the Nova Scotian government locate an enormous Christmas tree for the Boston Common. Buddy gets a little help from Santa, himself, in locating just the right tree, and the reindeer's blue nose guides the searching helicopter to the tree. Later, while Buddy’s on the way to Boston, his bright blue beacon prevents a collision at sea during an overnight storm. His heroism is rewarded when he is chosen to switch on the Christmas lights at the "Boston Tree party."

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     Bruce Nunn is a media personality and storyteller. Locally known also as "Mr. Nova Scotia Know-It-All", he delights in presenting offbeat historical tidbits. In amongst the puns and tongue-in-cheek narrative, Nunn has interspersed a mock version of Clement Moore's “Night Before Christmas” describing Buddy's adventure. (The original poem is reprinted at the end of the book.) While children will enjoy literary allusions at their level, there's plenty for adults, too, such as Buddy's concern that "Pilot Pete couldn't see the tree for the forest." The author includes kid-friendly verbal silliness like Santa's Reindeer Report, a "reindeer flyer for reindeer flyers." And there's a real Eastern Canadian vernacular (actually, to my ears, a Newfoundland one) when Pete greets Buddy with "How's she goin', Buddy?"

     The vibrantly-coloured illustrations resemble stills from an animated movie and will certainly appeal to children immersed in today's visual culture. It is no surprise to discover that the illustrator Brenda Jones currently works in animation in Montreal.

     Many Canadians may not be aware that every year Nova Scotia sends Boston a thank-you tree for sending medical personnel and supplies to Halifax after the terrible harbour explosion in 1917. This is the second illustrated children's story about this tradition. Love from Katie, by Paddy Muir and Kathy Kaulbach, was published by Nimbus in 1999 and adapted for television in 2003. That fictional story is more realistic than this one about a Nova Scotian reindeer, considering that in North America reindeer are called caribou, and none have a glowing blue nose. But then, children who accept Rudolph and Santa will have no trouble accepting Buddy as well, and may even learn a little history as they do.

     In all, this is a light-weight, humourous Christmas story that provides read-aloud entertainment for both children and adults.


Alison Mews is Co-ordinator of the Centre for Instructional Services, Faculty of Education, Memorial University of Newfoundland, in St. John's, NL.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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