cover image Christmas Bear

Christmas Bear

Salvatore Murdocca, Author Simon & Schuster $7.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-671-64565-6

Bear begins and ends his hibernation on exactly the same two days every yearhe's reliable. But as he grows older, he no longer sleeps soundly through the winter. It's a good thing, too, because this year Santa's sleigh hits a tall pine tree, and St. Nick is injured. Bear takes his place, fulfilling the mission admirably. His own Christmas wish is that his workclimbing trees and catching fishnot be so hard on his old bones, and he gets his wish on the first day of spring. This is a sweetly evoked story; the friendship between a robin and Bear is but one cherishable detail. Murdocca's illustrations are robustly rendered; he snugly portrays the winter scenes and the wondrous, confusing changes Bear encounters simply by being up and about at the wrong time of year. Ages 5-8. (October)