Dasher dreams as she watches the North Star of this magical place. Although her family fears Mr. Finnegan's wrath should they escape, when the gate opens one night, Dasher runs, following the North Star. Even after she has run for a long time, the North Star is still not overhead. After making a wish, she finds a man (Santa) with his sleigh and a horse who is struggling to carry the load of gifts for the children. Dasher wants to help, and the rest is history- complete with her final wish of having her family join her at the end.
What I loved: The illustrations here are realistic, elegant, and absolutely gorgeous, making the story come to life on each page. The text is often found in its own white box, which makes it easier to read. The story begins with a bit of sadness but is soon transformed into joy, love, and the enduring Christmas spirit. The book reminds me of stories read when I was young and adds a whole new backstory to the Christmas tale.
As rated by the publisher, the book is a little wordy for the youngest readers and so is better for older preschoolers and the elementary school audience. While mentioned at the beginning about the family captivity, this can spark some discussions about the way that animals are kept/displayed and conditions of such for kids who are interested in speaking more about this.
Final verdict: Highly recommend this new Christmas story for picture book readers who will adore the elegant illustrations and new story of family love and Christmas wishes that come true. Dasher is a tenacious character that will resonate with the intended audience. Gorgeous, elaborate, and full of hope, Dasher's journey shines through the pages along with a great deal of Christmas joy and spirit.