‘Twas the night before Christmas, well more like the afternoon before Christmas, and all the animals at the North Pole were buzzing with excitement. In the town called Ice Hills, located just past Santa’s workshop, Preston the Penguin and his friends Bradley the Bear and Sophie the Seagull have stopped to admire the marvelous decorations on their walk home from school.

Preston, the Ice Hills resident with the most Christmas spirit, thinks this is the most wonderful time of the year: “Everyone is in a good mood,” he explains. “We all come together to make the town a little brighter and happier. It’s a magical time, and it makes me happy to be a part of the magic. Seeing everyone’s eyes light up when they see a nicely decorated tree or house, or when they open a special gift, gives me a good feeling inside.”

Everything seems to be right on schedule. Santa’s made his list and checked it twice, but then he receives some troubling news: every one of the reindeer has come down with the flu! Without them, how will Santa fly his sleigh and bring gifts to all of the good little children? 

Looks like it’s Preston to the rescue in S. R. Halloran’s heartwarming holiday tale, Preston the Penguin’s Flight Before Christmas. 


“I really like bringing Christmas magic to others,” says Preston, “and I’d love to visit the rest of the world one day, and maybe meet other animals and people and spread Christmas joy to them as well.” Well, this year might be his chance to do just that. It’s a monumental task. After all, the fate of Christmas hangs in the balance. Preston may be smaller and younger than the other penguins, but no one has more determination to do the right thing than he does. 

However, it isn’t just his willingness to do the right thing and lend a helping hand that makes Preston an excellent asset to Santa and everyone else in Ice Hills. He knows the task at hand, saving Christmas, is more important than his own wishes, and Preston is willing to put aside his individual wants for the greater good. Even when Preston thinks he won’t get to join Santa on his journey around the world, he’s gracious toward the penguins that will fly with Santa.

Bright and bubbly illustrations, reminiscent of a Christmas cartoon, accompany Preston’s tale, making it easy to see that Preston and all his friends are full of cheer. Although some pages of the story feature no illustrations of the characters, they do feature charming borders, like Christmas cards trimmed with trees and bows. Preston’s Flight Before Christmas is, indeed, a festive book.


Parents will be delighted to learn that the book wraps up with Preston’s Principles, “a section that reviews one of the lessons from the story and encourages your child to learn from Preston’s adventures.” Halloran’s website notes that each of the books in this series is “designed to be both fun and educational” and “focus on strong values and opportunities to do good things in life.”

In his holiday adventure, Preston demonstrates sharing and being a good sport by remembering to be happy for his friends even when he’s disappointed. He reminds kids that doing good feels good and that friends and family, not gifts, are what make the holiday so special.

“On Ivan, on Julie, on Tanner and Abby, on Brooke, on Stan, on Jason and Ashley!” Yes, Santa’s sleigh ride through the sky may look a little different this year, but Christmas feels just as wonderful, if not more so, because Preston and his fellow penguins know just what this season is all about.

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S. R. Halloran is the author and creator of the new Preston the Penguin children’s storybook series, which is designed to bring families together and foster a love of reading, learning and adventure in children of all ages. He is also the Founder and CEO of Preston Worldwide, LLC, a publishing company focused on delivering family-friendly content. Halloran is a veteran of the scientific publishing industry with a career spanning more than 21 years in various leadership roles. Originally from New York, he now resides near Raleigh, NC.