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Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite
Feliz Navidog: The Story of How Santa's Pet Dog Saved Christmas by Ari and Reya Halper, with illustrations by Pencil Master Studio, is a children's fiction picture book that centers around the near cancellation of Christmas. The book begins with an acknowledgment of the stories and songs most children have already heard of and know. The Halpers then lead into a new and creative narrative where Pittsburg is covered by thick fog and the reindeer all get the flu simultaneously. The usually humming workshop of elves turns to pandemonium as fear mounts that Santa will never make it. It's all-hands-on-deck as the North Pole crew attempt to find a solution, brainstorming ways to get Santa into the night sky until the Claus's dog, Feliz Navidog, steps up to the task.
Father and daughter writing team Ari and Reya Halper deliver a fresh new tale to a generation of young readers with Feliz Navidog. Christmas children's books tend to be lost in an ocean of classics with only the slightest amount of room left for newcomers to stand out, but the lyrical and almost sing-song style of Feliz Navidog, partnered with absolutely gorgeous illustrations by Pencil Master Studio, is an absolute treat. The message is solid with children being taught about the way persistence and creative outside the box thinking can lead to workable solutions in a situation that feels hopeless. My own young reader and I fell into a fit of giggles when Feliz Navidog behaved in a way that dog parents can totally relate to, chasing pigeons and retesting its sense of smell. The combination of a wonderful narrative, fantastic illustrations, and a great message make Feliz Navidog a Christmas winner.