CM . . . . Volume XXIV Number 16 . . . . December 22, 2017
Such an intriguing preface to a warm and heartfelt children's book about how Christmas should be celebrated. Crusty but well-meaning Bear has planned what he thinks will be the perfect particular Christmas (with pickles). His companion, Mouse, has his own ideas and would like a fun Christmas with presents under the tree. As the story progresses, Bear realizes that there is more than one way to celebrate Christmas, and both find that the joy of Christmas comes from sharing.
Bear has the most wonderful way with words ("Unneccessary hogwash!"), and the size and boldness of the text makes reading the story out loud a must. Mouse's dialogue is equally evocative of his sweet personality ("The pickles are wonderful," whispered Mouse). The reader cannot help but fall in love with both well-developed characters and turn the pages to find out what the friends will do next in their playful tug-o-war.
Kady MacDonald Denton's charming watercolour, ink and gouache illustrations aptly tell their own story while perfectly complementing Bonny Becker's text. One must pay particular attention to the antics of Mouse as the reader finds him getting into all sorts of mischief throughout the pages. Of note are the emotions of Mouse who is equal parts sad and happy, with even his tiny tail betraying his feelings.
A Christmas for Bear must be saved for a cold night before Christmas when children and their grownups snuggle up for a warm winter's storytime. Or anytime, really, because stories about special friendships are magical at any time of the year. This is the sixth instalment of the popular Bear and Mouse series and hopefully not the last.
Jill Griffith is the Youth Services Manager at Red Deer Public Library in Red Deer, AB.