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The Reindeer Keeper
     

The Reindeer Keeper

5.0 5
by Barbara Briggs Ward, Suzanne Langelier-Lebeda (Artist)
 

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Abbey senses something special about the little man tending to the reindeer who, along with a century-old farmhouse, a barn full of animals, and fields abounding in woods and pasture, was a gift to Abbey from a stranger. Abbey and her husband, Steve, move in just before the holidays. They have been together since the '60s, eloping when Steve returned from Vietnam.

Overview

Abbey senses something special about the little man tending to the reindeer who, along with a century-old farmhouse, a barn full of animals, and fields abounding in woods and pasture, was a gift to Abbey from a stranger. Abbey and her husband, Steve, move in just before the holidays. They have been together since the '60s, eloping when Steve returned from Vietnam. Now with Abbey's cancer in remission, they're looking forward to their boys coming home for Christmas.

Turns out this Christmas proves to be more magical than anticipated as Abbey realizes an understanding never thought possible through the rekindling of a belief rooted in childhood. Of course it's who delivers this gift on Christmas Eve that gives Abbey and Steve the strength to face their greatest challenge.

About the Author

Barbara Briggs Ward is the author/illustrator of The Really, Really Hairy Flight of Snarly Sally and Snarly Sally's Garden of ABCs. Her projects include illustrating And Then There Was Hope and The Brain Reigns for the New York State Office of Mental Health. She has been a featured author/illustrator on Mountain Lake PBS in Plattsburgh, New York, and Target's Book Festival in Boston and New York City. She has been published in Highlights for Children, McCall's, and the Crafts Report. An essay led to a feature in Ladies' Home Journal. Her story, "In Anticipation of Doll Beds," was accepted into the Chicken Soup of the Soul book, Christmas Magic, released October, 2010. Barbara invites you to visit www.snarlysally.com and www.thereindeerkeeper.com.

Suzanne Langelier-Lebeda is an award-winning graphic designer/illustrator. She earned national awards for art and publication design as a coordinator of publications at the State University of Potsdam. Her projects have included illustrations for the National Park Service Cumberland Island National Seashore Visitors Center, Georgia; Renee Fleming Benefit Concert Materials, New York City; Adirondack Life and Country Living Gardener Magazines; St. Lawrence University; Clarkson University; and graphic design for the permanent exhibit on History and Traditions at SUNY Potsdam. She is a member of the Adirondack Artists' Guild in Saranac Lake, New York. In her fine artwork she primarily concentrates on contemplative nature studies that explore intimations in nature by integrating watercolor, drawing, writing, and digital photography. Suzanne invites you to visit www.snowlinedesign.com.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781604944433
Publisher:
Wheatmark
Publication date:
10/15/2010
Pages:
182
Sales rank:
157,053
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.40(d)

Meet the Author

Barbara Briggs Ward is the author/illustrator of The Really, Really Hairy Flight of Snarly Sally and Snarly Sally's Garden of ABCs. Her projects include illustrating And Then There Was Hope and The Brain Reigns for the New York State Office of Mental Health. She has been a featured author/illustrator on Mountain Lake PBS in Plattsburgh, New York, and Target's Book Festival in Boston and New York City. She has been published in Highlights for Children, McCall's, and the Crafts Report. An essay led to a feature in Ladies' Home Journal. Her story, "In Anticipation of Doll Beds," was accepted into the Chicken Soup of the Soul book, Christmas Magic, released October, 2010. Barbara invites you to visit www.snarlysally.com and www.thereindeerkeeper.com.

Suzanne Langelier-Lebeda is an award-winning graphic designer/illustrator. She earned national awards for art and publication design as a coordinator of publications at the State University of Potsdam. Her projects have included illustrations for the National Park Service Cumberland Island National Seashore Visitors Center, Georgia; Renee Fleming Benefit Concert Materials, New York City; Adirondack Life and Country Living Gardener Magazines; St. Lawrence University; Clarkson University; and graphic design for the permanent exhibit on History and Traditions at SUNY Potsdam. She is a member of the Adirondack Artists' Guild in Saranac Lake, New York. In her fine artwork she primarily concentrates on contemplative nature studies that explore intimations in nature by integrating watercolor, drawing, writing, and digital photography. Suzanne invites you to visit www.snowlinedesign.com.

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The Reindeer Keeper: Believe Again ... 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Paul5757 More than 1 year ago
Fire place blazing, snow falling in the woods, barn lit up, family togetherness ... all comes to life in this simple, easy to read story for all seasons. Thank you to this author and illustrator.
Bookie613 More than 1 year ago
THE REINDEER KEEPER is more than a Christmas story for adults, it is a story about the truths of the heart and the beauty that can be found when we look beyond the obvious. In this character driven story whose setting is an old farmhouse and barn in the pasture lands and woods of northern New York State, the familiar themes of family rituals and traditions that reinforce family strength and unity, and the personal transformations of the story's characters that arise from a new awareness of what matters most in life, are treated with a realistic sympathy that gives the story a contemporary freshness and a wide appeal. Suzanne Langelier-Lebeda's small, detailed charcoal and ink illustrations on the chapter title pages serve as charming introductions of events and themes to come. The book's cover with its sofly hued, dreamy painting of pasture, woodland and barn nestled in snow against a winter's night sky sets the mood. As we go about our daily activities of work, family and social committments, it is easy to forget the committments we must make to ourselves that allow us to experience our full personhood. THE REINDEER KEEPER is a reminder that we can keep the innocence, simplicity and wonder of childhood in our adult lives if we open our hearts to the love, the faith and the hope that surrounds us. But this is not a sugar sweet Christmas story. The author very poignantly describes the sorrows and disappointments of children as expressed in their letters to Santa Claus, the legendary figure of childhood hope and solace. Her treatment of adult losses and disappointments and in particular, Abby's battle with cancer, promotes personal intergrity, courage and strength without seeming to preach, leaving the reader to ponder his or her own responses. The author's atmospheric descriptions of the North Country evoked memories of my years in Plattsburgh. I closed my eyes and smelled the fresh scent of pine trees and heard their branches whispering as they swayed in the powerful North Country winds of winter. I recalled the sharpness of my breath in the cold, dry air and way the sun shone on freshly fallen snow and made it look like fairy dust. I recalled the quiet solitude I found during hikes in the woods with only the deer and squirrels for company. To believe in Santa Claus or Father Christmas or St. Nicholas or any legends of the holiday season, is to believe in the spirit of giving and loving and in the truths of the heart. The character of Abby shows us that we each have an obituary, that time in our lives between birth and death. It is what we do with that time that defines us and creates our legacy. In our life choices we have the opportunity and capacity to bring love, faith, hope and healing into a world deeply in need of redemption. All we have to do is Believe, like Abby.
ReadersFavorite1 More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Stephanie Dagg for Readers Favorite The Reindeer Keeper by Barbara Briggs Ward is a moving, magical seasonal tale. It centers on Abbey, who is bravely fighting cancer and staying positive in the face of an impending threat to the family business. Her husband and grown up sons are all that matter to her. She puts off retirement as she loves her work but she expects she’ll have a more important job to do soon. Part of the estate she recently inherited from her father includes a barn where Thomas looks after reindeer. Abbey finds herself continually drawn to this spot - for a very good reason. When she brings her sons and their partners there at Christmas, the girls show their true sides. One of them, Meg, is reserved and sharp, but both Abbey and the reindeer work their magic on her. Can stark adult-centered realism - cancer, possible looming bankruptcy, unhappy partnerships - work successfully alongside magic and fairy tale? In this author’s hands, it can. Real life and fairy tale, real people and magical characters, despair and hope - these opposites unite in Barbara Briggs Ward’s beautiful story to bring us the true spirit of Christmas and humanity.
ReadersFavorite More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Darin Godby for Readers Favorite The question of believing is one that author Barbara Briggs Ward brings to life in her book, "The Reindeer Keeper." She enables the reader to experience that when one truly believes there is an unending list of possibilities that can occur. The reader is taken along a journey of a beautiful couple's childlike faith. It appears that when one must know all the details and plans that the excitement of the journey is missed. Abbey and Steve allow the spirit of believing to take them to areas of their life that most will never travel.  While they have experienced a great romance and marriage, they've also experienced the struggles every family faces when a loved one battles cancer. They share their strength and determination with their family and in return, help to build strong character among them. No matter what their children will face in the future, Abbey and Steve's example is one of love and compassion. The Wonder and Magic of the Season which touches Abbey through a very special relationship is one which enables her to make a difference to others. One day she will pass this relationship to someone of her own choosing. I was eagerly waiting to find out whom that someone would be and enjoyed the outcome. I wonder how many times a person has been chosen to perform an important task and misses the blessings associated with it by not fulfilling that calling. Abbey has challenged me to step up and accept the opportunity that is before me.
readerbynight More than 1 year ago
One of the most beautiful stories I have ever read. The embrace of the book, its tale of faith and love, yet mixed with sadness and resentment over past loss, touched a chord deep within me. This is a Christmas story, and yet it is a life story. A story of life that goes on through generations, through faith that doesn't fail and love that lives forever. Barbara Briggs Ward knows how to write magic that touches the soul and releases anger and sorrow. Abbey has grown up without her mother from a delicate age, but she and her father have a wonderful relationship. They live above a funeral home where her father is the funeral director. Abbey helps her father by cutting out all the obituaries for the funeral home file, copies enough for the families, and through her caring mind begins to think about the stories of the lives of those who have passed. Her father is also a caring man, and has befriended a man that seems lonely and without friends. Imagine their surprise when this man dies and leaves a lovely old home and large property to Abbey's father with the stipulation that if her father passes, the property will go to her, and so it does. But this is the prelude to the magic. Though a perfect Christmas story aimed at adults, primarily those who have lost the child within, or lost their way on the treacherous road of harsh reality, this is also a story for all seasons. This is not a book strictly of religious faith, in fact it is driven by the faith of a child, pure and unadulterated, whether that faith is in a person, a religious deity, or in Santa Claus. As children we have an innate faith and trust, we have an untouchable belief system. But life can change all that through the years. What we need is a reminder and this book provides exactly that. There are many changes in quick succession in the life of Abbey, but her love for her husband Steve, and the reciprocation of that love is the catalyst for overcoming all obstacles. Life simply is not always smooth and simple, there are always sudden drops, disappointments, and misunderstandings. These are the trials she must overcome, in particular with her feelings about her mother who died when Abbey was young. It's a common enough human feeling in such cases to resent the parent for leaving, and Abby has carried this for too many years of her life. As her family returns home for the Christmas holiday, a magical event happens in her life that changes her entire feeling for her mother and fills her with understanding. It is with this new understanding and the love of her husband and family that she is able to cope with the news she is about to hear. But with new-found strength of heart and faith she is able to accomplish what she sets out to do. This story brought me comfort. It cloaks the reader with warmth like a down-filled duvet. An impressive debut work of fiction. I highly recommend this book, I just can't say enough about it. I am so thankful I read it. Barbara, you are the believer, and you shared it beautifully.
MomsChoiceAwards More than 1 year ago
The Reindeer Keeper is a recipient of the prestigious Mom's Choice Award. The Mom's Choice Awards honors excellence in family-friendly media, products and services. An esteemed panel of judges includes education, media and other experts as well as parents, children, librarians, performing artists, producers, medical and business professionals, authors, scientists and others. A sampling of the panel members includes: Dr. Twila C. Liggett, ten-time Emmy-winner, professor and founder of PBS's Reading Rainbow; Julie Aigner-Clark, Creator of Baby Einstein and The Safe Side Project; Jodee Blanco, and New York Times best-selling Author; LeAnn Thieman, motivational speaker and coauthor of seven Chicken Soup For The Soul books. Parents and educators look for the Mom's Choice Awards seal in selecting quality materials and products for children and families.
CBH More than 1 year ago
Each Christmas we get some new Christmas stories, some great and some mediocre, that take most of us back to our youth and in most cases lift our spirits up and give us pause to recall those experiences. "The Reindeer Keeper" is one of the fantastic stories that brightens the holiday for old and young alike. It brings happiness and some sadness into those memories. This book allowed me to visualize what the author was thinking when she wrote it and gave me happiness galore. The book is also illustrated with beautiful art by Suzanne Langelier-Lebeda. Clean lines that help bring this Christmas story into a family aspect. Abbey and Steve have been happily married for over thirty years. They were homebodies that didn't care for traveling. They loved their family and each other more than words could express. The birth of their three children, Eric, Meg, and Sam had enriched their lives tremendously and as much as they wanted their children to be successful in their lives, they were sad when any left to work away from home but that was the price sometimes of success. As this particular Christmas came near, Abbey and Steve selected their Christmas tree, trying to get "the perfect tree" as those of us that like live trees also do each year. They lived in a very rural area in an old farm that had been left to them with stipulations that the old barn be left intact and in good repair. The old barn included various animals but especially a herd of reindeer. During her first trip to the old barn Abbey was amazed at the huge size of the barn and how well it was kept. Inside she met Thomas, the keeper of the animals and the barn. Abbey and Steve did not know why the property had been left to them so Abbey asked Thomas if he knew. Thomas told them they would find out "in time!" Abbey told Steve all about the reindeer and the special barn but Steve was too upset to listen to anything since, unknown to his family, another big box store was opening in the town where Steve had his business and he was concerned as to how he could stay in business and compete. Eventually Steve settled down and listened. Before Christmas Abbey had found a lump in her breast and she scheduled an appointment to get it checked out without telling any of the family. The entire family came home for Christmas making it such a delightful and happy time. Thomas would come to the house occasionally but never stayed saying he had too much to do. One night Abbey saw all kinds of lights and flashes coming from the barn area so she just had to go and see what the commotion was about. She entered the barn and was taken to a world of magic where she met Santa Claus. Thomas and his children, who were elves of course, were assisting Santa in getting ready for his Christmas Eve trip to deliver gifts to the entire world. Abbey was amazed and was so thrilled she, and she alone, was made a part of this magic. They all had a fantastic Christmas and afterwards the children went to their respective homes and jobs, some with divorce in their minds. As the year went on Abbey had seen the doctor and knew that her lump was cancerous. She had many treatments to attempt to quell the cancer. She had to tell Steve and eventually the entire family. Her health brought the family closer together than ever and Abbey's health declined while taking the treatments. She had good days and bad days but her family was always there for her. "The Reindeer Keeper" is not the
Grady1GH More than 1 year ago
Barbara Briggs Ward advances into the realm of adult novels with this sensitive, warm, transforming story THE REINDEER KEEPER. Her well-known and well-read illustrated children's book series 'SNARLY SALLY" (now with three books of that series on the shelves) has established her as a writer of skill and insight for children's literature. It is a jump to go into adult literature for some writers less facile than Ward, but in this fine novel Ward's secret of success is that she maintains the wide-eyed children's view of the world but places that vision through the eyes of adults. The story is a blend of harsh reality and magic and the manner in which Ward relates it is bound to impact every reader. Abbey and Steve 'inherited' a farm from Abbey's funeral director father who in turn 'inherited' it from a simple, quiet, rather ignored man who Abbey's father had befriended. The farm is rustically beautiful and on its wide acreage is a very large barn where animal tender, the diminutive Thomas, cares for reindeer. Abbey, who is in remission for pancreatic cancer and Steve, who owns a lumberyard/nursery in the little town, have a simple but beautiful life filled with love and wonderful memories from their past: they married upon Steve's return from serving in Vietnam, had two boys - Eric and Sam - and a miscarried daughter. Abbey is a loving wife and mother but harbors ill feelings about her mother who died 'leaving her' when Abbey was young. But Abbey and Steve live their country life to the fullest, happy that Abbey's cancer is in remission. Son Eric is married to lawyer Meg, a girl the parents feel is cold and not a good wife, even preventing Eric from pursuing his passion for the culinary arts, opting instead to insist that Eric be a Wall Street type. Son Sam is married to Cate, a beautiful and lively photographer who delights in the joys of Sam's family. It is Christmas and the boys and their wives arrive for the traditional Christmas festivities. During this time changes occur: Meg is discovered to be sour because she feels her mother never loved her - a similarity with Abbey that they work through, making Meg come alive with the spirit of the season and of life with Eric, even to the point of appreciating Eric's love for the kitchen. During this season Abbey wanders out to the barn, becomes close friends with Thomas who explains why her father and now Abbey have inherited the farm: the reindeer are the ones Santa Claus employs for his annual Christmas flight around the world and in the wonder of childlike believing, Abbey meets Santa, proving that she 'believes' in the magic of Christmas. Time passes with the winter and Abbey comes to discover that her carcinoma has re-activated and she must face more chemotherapy and radiation: she faces this quietly not wanting to add to Steve's angst over the impending entry of the big box store moving into town to destroy his business. But finally Abbey shares the truth with Steve and her children, and together the family provide the support and love and sense of wonder that are so much a part of Abbey's personality. The 'inherited' farm becomes the center of the family's togetherness and Meg comes to see Abbey as the mother she thought she never had just as Abbey see Meg as the daughter she lost with miscarrimiscarriage. Everyone makes changes for the better. The manner in which this solid family unit solidifies around Abbey's impending terminal disease, and the one who will inherit the keepi
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Reindeer Keeper is a heart-warming story about a woman named Abby who inherits a farm with a barn full of reindeer. At the same time she seems to be inheriting a mysterious little old man with pointed ears who is the caretaker for the reindeer. The author draws from her childhood and her life in northern New York as she creates a setting of winter beauty: soft snow in moonlight, blustery cold winds in daylight, and the cozy farmhouse refuge with hot chocolate on the stove and cookies baking. Abby's story is one of family love, and through the crisis she faces, she works to resolve her family's problems and cope with her own fears. She finds help from an unexpected source. This story brings back the magic of Christmas. In the midst of all the work and anxiety of Christmas in our day, this short novel will take you back to the pure wonder of childhood Christmases. It's just what you need to restore your belief in Santa!