Even More Holiday Titles:
And a Very Ursine Christmas to You

h1 December 20th, 2006 by jules

I think I’ve mentioned before that post titles are not my strength . . .

ive-seen-santa.gifLet’s take a moment to look at another new holiday picture book title that will intrigue the wee ones. Originally published in Great Britain in 2005, we now have Tiger Tales, an imprint of ME Media, to thank for the 2006 U.S. publication of I’ve Seen Santa!, written by David Bedford and illustrated by Tim Warnes.

The wonder of this book is that it will entertain your two-year-old, will likely snag the attention of your older-elementary child (who might be hearing from the dastardly dissenters at school that mom and dad really leave gifts out and that there is no Santa), and will catch the eye of all ages in between.

It’s Christmas Eve and Little Bear really wants to see Santa. Little Bear’s father allays one of his fears (“Will Santa fit down our chimney . . .?”) by actually making an amusing journey down it himself, only to appear in a cloud of soot. After trying to go to sleep but failing miserably, Little Bear sneaks out to see someone sitting by the fireplace. Thinking it’s Santa, he’s surprised and disappointed to see that it’s Big Bear. Once again failing to fall asleep, he sneaks out again a bit later to hear Santa — he’s sure of it — munching on the blueberry pies he’s left for him. But it’s Big Bear again. Later, he sees Mommy Bear putting presents in his stocking. “I’m giving you both a present from me,” she tells Little Bear and Big Bear.

This book, for pre-schoolers, is a well-paced story with affectionate, warm illustrations that depict a loving family of bears in their toasty, cozy home, getting ready for Santa’s arrival. As you can see, the slightly older Santa-agnostics, when reading this one, might be smirking and rolling their eyes, since they’re so on to us, since Bedford uses just about every opportunity to show that, yes, Mommy Bear and Big Bear are the culprits here. And then, alas and alack, in the end we see that all three bears have fallen asleep on the floor in a big heap, and “they never did see Santa . . .”

But, ah the joy is on the next and final double page spread, as we read the words “even though Santa saw them!” And there’s the jolly man himself in the flesh, eating the blueberry pies while the bears all sleep. So there, Santa-agnostics.

bear-noel.gifIt’s an agreeable, good-humored little story, this one. Not a stand-out title of the year, but a cushy, snug story for Christmas Eve. Pair it with Olivier Dunrea’s Bear Noel (published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2000) for a very carnivore Christmas.

And, I might add, mad props to Little Bear for the tasty and distinct snack of blueberry pies instead of cookies for Santa. I’m pretty sure that’s Santa’s favorite treat; I’ll have to be sure to tell my daughters that.

Until next time . . .

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