THE BERENSTAIN BEARS SAVE CHRISTMAS
Stan Berenstain, Jan Berenstain, with Mike Berenstain. . HarperCollins, $12.99 (48pp) ISBN 978-0-06-052670-2
The Berenstain Bears may save Christmas, but even the Bears' best behavior does not breathe life into this overly long and plodding picture book. Much to the chagrin of Santa Bear, as well as wise Mama Bear, the holiday season in Bear Country has become a crass commercial competition, encouraging the "Christmas greedies." Santa's prepared to cancel the whole shebang until he witnesses Mama and her brood exhibiting genuine restraint, hospitality and goodwill. The clan's all here, but the Bear family's personalities remain oddly de-emphasized, in a rhyming text that often does not scan well. While the chestnut of a theme, er, bears repeating, Berenstain fans will likely miss the energetic humor, silliness (and even the sibling bickering) of previous outings. Ages 4-8.
Reviewed on: 09/22/2003