Once upon a time, there was a clever Christmas innovation on the classic tale of Papa, Mama and Baby Bear, with Santa Claus standing in for Goldilocks.
The bears in this irresistible tale are polar bears, living in a comfortable home with a stone fireplace and Scandinavian Christmas decorations. On Christmas Eve, the three bears go out for a late-night walk while their pudding cools on the table. Santa Claus arrives to deliver their presents, and he follows the Goldilocks pattern of eating the Christmas pudding, breaking Baby Bear’s chair and falling asleep in Baby Bear’s cozy bed. The text follows the familiar structure of the original story, but when the bears find Santa asleep, he pulls out their gifts instead of running away. In a delightful twist, there’s “a great big present for Baby Bear, a middle-size present for Mama Bear, and a wee little present for Papa Bear.” A final wordless page shows the bears just starting to open their presents on Christmas morning, but young readers must imagine the package contents for themselves. Charming watercolor illustrations by the mother-and-daughter team bring the polar bears to life and give Santa Claus an amiable, gentle persona.
And Santa promises Baby Bear a new chair for next Christmas. Just right. (Picture book. 3-6)