This is a really cute Christmas story for young children. The wolf cubs tell Bertie Bear all about winter and Christmas, and snow. Mama Bear explains that winter is a cold and dark time, and creatures who stay awake through it struggle through. Christmas gives them something to look forward too, a bit of light in a dark period - but sensible folks, like bears, sleep right through the whole season.
Of course children are not known for being sensible and little bear is no exception. He longs to see snow and even more, he wants to see Father Christmas and find out what this whole Christmas thing is all about.
So he sets an alarm clock under his bed, and while Mama Bear is fast asleep, he wakes up in the middle of winter and goes in search of Christmas. At first the snow is great fun, but soon it is dark and Bertie is cold and hungry and very very lost. The woods look so different with the leaves gone and everything covered in snow. Luckily for the small bear and kind stranger arrives at just the right time and offers to take the little lost cub home in his sleigh. Of course we all know who the kind stranger is and how this will end. But from that year forward, the bears would always celebrate Christmas, just a little later than most folk.
I think the one thing that really stands out the most about this book is the quality of the illustrations. Each picture is drawn with the mots careful attention to detail, from the snowy woods to the expressions on little bears face. my sons love the picture of Santa taking Little Bear up in his sleigh over the snowy forest. The story itself is of course a bit predictable for an adult, but it is great for a child and helps set the mood for Christmas time as the nights grow cold and we snuggle up and read all about Christmas coming.
I suppose an issue could be made of Bertie the bear going away with a stranger. Of course this is something we would normally discourage children from doing, but I have told my children, as long as the stranger approaches in a sleigh with flying reindeer, we can make an exception.
This book is available from Amazon at £4.99 for a new copy and £ 3.59 for a board book. Second hand copies in either of these formats, or in paperback can be purchased from £2.76. I would really recommend this story as a warm and comforting read as Christmas approaches. My sons ages 2 and 5 both really enjoy this and I would think it would suit from about ages 2-7.
Christmas stories are part of our holiday traditions. I do think lots of rituals and routines leading up to the holiday make it more fun.