Schmuck the Buck: Santa’s Jewish Reindeer by EXO Books and Karina Shor (Illustrator)

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“Christmas isn’t just about gifts, but the love underneath,
So it really doesn’t matter your religious belief.
We give because we care, we love, and we want to please,
So there’s room for every one of us under our Christmas trees.”

Schmuck the Buck: Santa’s Jewish Reindeer is a beautifully illustrated book and a more inclusive take at the traditional story of Rudolph. I don’t read many illustrated books these days which honestly is a shame! I was instantly blown away by the artwork and really enjoyed this quick read.

Schmuck the Buck Art Preview
Shared with permission from author

Larry is a nerdy caribou that was teased and bullied in school, given the nickname Schmuck which unfortunately stuck. Despite never really fitting in, he worked hard and earned a degree in accounting with an emphasis in Yule. He gets a job in Santa’s (sweat)shop but like in the traditional Rudolph tale, Schmuck is continually excluded. But after he thinks quick on his hooves he saves Christmas, earning praise from Santa and the acceptance of his peers.

This was a heartwarming holiday read that can be enjoyed by everyone. At its core it is a story about acceptance and inclusion, with diversity in race, species, and religion all represented effortless in this illustrated tale. The story is written in rhyme and the poetry flows really well; this is a tale to be read aloud.

REPRESENTATION: the world is effortlessly racially diverse
CONTENT/TRIGGER WARNINGS: bullying

Many thanks to the publisher for sending me an eARC for review. Quotations are taken from an uncorrected proof and may change upon publication.

★★★★

You can find information about my rating criteria here.

Larry was just your regular caribou, who was cruelly excluded from his crew. He and his kin happened to be the sole Jewish reindeer in the North Pole. Larry was bullied and treated the worst way, until his plan saved one Christmas Day.

A contemporary satirical take on Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, Schmuck the Buck introduces Larry, a young Jewish reindeer. He overcomes his awkward and sometimes painful youth to save Christmas. His tale of acceptance and inclusion is sure to warm the hearts of anyone who loves Christmas, Hanukkah, or both. Sixty pages of vibrant illustrations bring his story to life. A unique modern addition to any holiday library.


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Hi! I’m Kaleena: book lover, runner, wanderer, and philanthropist. Life is an adventurous gift: through the outdoors and books. I run Reader Voracious Blog, where I post spoiler-free book reviews of science fiction, fantasy, speculative fiction, and mystery & thriller.

18 thoughts on “Schmuck the Buck: Santa’s Jewish Reindeer by EXO Books and Karina Shor (Illustrator)

  1. I liked the representation in this title as well, and it definitely had me laughing. Great to see your thoughts too! I really thought this was going to be a children’s picture book when I got it 😂😂 It was a hilariously pleasant surprise.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I got a copy of this and am going to read it a little closer to Christmas. Glad to hear you enjoyed it! When I first got offered a copy I was like.. I don’t read graphic novels much.. then I clicked on the website and saw some of the photos and knew I had to check this one out.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Lol it looks so different! I was just trying to remember what book I wanted to read right around Christmas and I’m glad I saw your comment because this is the one. I really gotta update that spreadsheet better LOL

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I just realized yesterday that I had received a review request to check this book out. I looked it up on GoodReads and saw your review, which is what enticed me to accept the request! You make it sound like such a cute story. I also don’t read nearly enough illustrated books. They really add something to the experience of reading the story so I think they make it all the more enjoyable.

    Liked by 1 person

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