In their sixth adventure together, best friends Bear and Mouse celebrate Christmas with pickles, a poem, and presents.
Bear invites Mouse to their first-ever Christmas party, although Bear knows only what he’s read about how Christmas is celebrated. He announces that eating pickles and “reading a long and difficult poem” (“A Visit from St. Nicholas”) should be enough for their party, but Mouse is most interested in the possibility of presents. Grumpy Bear pretends to reject the notion: “Monstrous assumption!” Ever hopeful, Mouse repeatedly escapes from Bear to search the house for gifts, finally locating his Christmas stocking with a tiny telescope tucked inside. Taking the telescope outside to view the night sky leads to a search for Bear’s present, a huge sled that Mouse has somehow hidden under a snow-covered tree. In a satisfying conclusion, Bear and Mouse gleefully sled down a hill “under the shining stars of Christmas.” Bear’s curmudgeonly personality and Mouse’s cheerful antics provide droll humor conveyed with polished comedic pacing and clever phrases such as “a mournful bite of pickle.” Soft-focus illustrations in watercolor, ink, and gouache are particularly strong in the subtle expressions on the animal faces as well as in meeting the design challenge of including a huge bear and a tiny mouse in one environment.
Another appealing adventure for this delightful duo, just right for a Christmas Eve storytime, perhaps enjoyed with a plate of pickles. (Picture book. 3-7)