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Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer


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About the Author

Robert L. May penned one of America's most famous contributions to Christmas folklore while working as a copywriter for Montgomery Ward & Co. in Chicago. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Dartmouth College in 1926 and held various advertising jobs in several department stores across the country before going to the catalog company in 1936. A humble, soft-spoken man, May was gratified that children the world over responded to the story of the lonely little deer who found happiness when he gladly accepted a chance to help others. May referred to Rudolph as "my generous son," claiming that the noble reindeer enabled him to send his six children to college.
In 1958 May donated the original 32-page Rudolph manuscript to the Baker Library at Dartmouth College, which now houses the Robert L. May Collection. May left Montgomery Ward in 1951 to manage Rudolph's burgeoning career but returned to the company in 1958, retiring in 1970. He died in 1976.


The fearless leader of Santa's sleigh was a character created by Robert L. May in his book, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, in 1939 as part of a giveaway from Montgomery Ward. Though the text, which gives a nod to Clement C. Moore, is somewhat forced, the book gets a boost from David Wenzel's illustrations of a warm, appealing Santa. (Sept.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

K-Gr 3-This newly illustrated edition of the well-known story uses May's original, lengthy but satisfying rhymed text, written in 1939. Wenzel's watercolor illustrations are vibrant and richly detailed with a nostalgic, old-fashioned quality. Michael Emberley's watercolor, cartoonlike pen-and-ink drawings in Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (Applewood, 1994) are amusing but crowd the pages. Of the two books, Wenzel's illustrations are a better fit for the text. While a tad too long for storytime, it's a solid representation of the tale.-M. W. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

How do you review a classic? It's not easy but I must admit that it was a lot of fun to read the tale of Rudolph as it was originally written. We all know the story of Rudolph, how the other reindeer teased him because of his bright red nose, how he ran away, and then how he came back and saved Christmas. In the original version, a poem written by Robert May, Rudolph is actually living with other reindeer, far from Santa's home in the North Pole. Like all the other animals, and girls and boys, on Christmas Eve, Rudolph is fast asleep, dreaming of the toys Santa will bring. But Santa is having trouble delivering his gifts because a terrible fog has settled into the land. What will happen if he can't get to all the houses? Santa is in a panic and he doesn't know what to do, but then he comes upon the house where Rudolph and his friends live. Perhaps that bright red nose... There is, of course, a happy ending, Rudolph saves the day, all the toys are distributed, and Christmas is saved. Applewood Books is a publishing company that has brought many classics back to life to be enjoyed by new generations of readers. For Rudolph, they have kept the look of the original 1939 publication by using the same text, design, illustrations, and even typeface. The delightful feel of the original is kept and while reading, it becomes clear why this story has become a cherished part of every Christmas. Don't miss it! Quill says: Every home should have a copy of this book to enjoy at Christmas!--Holly Connors "Feathered Quill "

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