Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Seriously Seeking St. Nick: I've Seen Santa by David Bedford

It was Christmas Eve and Little Bear was looking forward to seeing Santa.

"Does Santa visit bears all over the world?" he asked Big Bear.

"Yes," said Big Bear. "He goes to every house."

"He might not have time to come here." said Little Bear. "And then I won't have any presents."

Little Bear is warned that Santa will surely come when he is asleep, but he is too worried about all the technical details to close his eyes. Just as he begins to doze, he hears suspicious sounds from downstairs. "Glug, Glug! Munch, Munch!" Investigating in the dark, he sees a large, rounded shape in a red cap--but it is his dad, caught snitching Santa's snacks!

"Big Bear! That's Santa's milk!!"

"I only wanted a sip before I went to bed," Big Bear explained.

"If Santa's as greedy as you are," said Mama Bear, "he really will be too big to fit down the chimney."

Now Little Bear has something else to worry about. Big Bear agrees to sack out with Little Bear in the living room and help him wait for St. Nick. Again, just as the two slip toward sleep, a shadowy shape, one hand in a stocking, is spotted. Can it be Santa? No, it's Mama Bear, who explains her presence a bit lamely:

"I'm giving you both a present from ME! What are YOU doing?"

Weary parents trying to outwait wakeful and watchful kids on Christmas Eve will get more than a few chuckles out of David Bedford's new board book edition of I've Seen Santa! (Tiger Tales, 2009), warmly illustrated by the notable artist Tim Warnes, in which Big Bear and Mama Bear are caught attempting to play Santa. But the author gets the last laugh when the two parents fall asleep with Little Bear during the vigil, and although NO ONE sees Santa, Santa arrives, enjoys what remains of his blueberry pie, and certainly sees THEM!

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