About the Holiday
Christmas Day is tomorrow! Are you ready—tree decorated, all gifts bought or made and wrapped, cookies baked? If not, don’t stress! Somehow, it all comes together. And on Christmas morning when you see those little eyes light up and you get to spend the day with family and/or friends, all the last-minute preparations are worth it—as you’ll see in today’s book.
Disney-Hyperion sent me a copy of Santa Bruce to check out. All opinions are my own.
By Ryan T. Higgins
If you know Bruce, you probably won’t be surprised to learn that he “did not like the holidays.” In fact, before he had kids (and mice), he used to sleep right through them. But this year his family wanted that picture-perfect Christmas together. This meant “no migrating! No hibernating!” Whether Bruce liked it or not, “the holiday season was going to be filled with fun and cheer.”
So the geese decorated, and the mice made eggnog. And Bruce? He was not happy. He was awake and he was cold. And because he was awake and cold, he was shoveling the walk in his red long underwear. And that’s when a raccoon made an erroneous conclusion, and Bruce was the victim of “a case of mistaken identity.” Again.
It didn’t matter that Bruce tried to set the record straight. The little raccoon scampered off to tell his friends. Soon, Bruce’s house was full of animals wanting to talk to Santa. Every young forest critter took their turn sitting on Santa’s…I mean Bruce’s…lap to tell him what they wanted for Christmas, and no sooner had they all gone home then their parents showed up to “thank Bruce for his Christmas spirit. Then, before Bruce could even say “bah humbug,” Thistle announced that Santa Bruce would “deliver presents to all of your kids tonight.”
What was Bruce’s reaction? He headed for bed. When the mice protested, Bruce reminded them that he didn’t have a sleigh. The mice easily fixed that with a wagon and a sled. How about reindeer?, Bruce countered. Well, what else are geese for? Okay, Bruce conceded, but what about the presents? The mice had that covered too.
And so it was that on that magical night that Santa Bruce made the rounds to all the good little forest critters (and even to the “grown up Bunny who still lives with his parents”). As morning dawned and Santa Bruce trudged back home, happy tykes were waking up to a beautifully wrapped present. What was it? You’ll have to join the holiday feast and see!
In this new holiday favorite, Ryan T. Higgins’ woebegone Bruce is just trying to make his kids (and those mice) happy when another case of mistaken identity turns his winter topsy-turvey. Bruce’s tetchy responses as he loses control of his fate and becomes Santa Bruce as well as the silly asides and persuasive pleas from the mice will have kids in stitches. Sly references to holiday songs, Christmas clichés, and even a spring holiday add to the zany hubbub, and the little ones’ Christmas wishes will make adult readers chuckle.
Higgins’ unibrowed bear wears his signature scowl with aplomb—not even cracking the wee-est smile as a houseful of tiny, adorable hopefuls cheer and shout for “SANTA!” As usual, the mice are jubilantly unconcerned with Bruce’s feelings, giving him, in turn, thumbs up and innocent eyes as they cajole Bruce into creating their vision of the perfect holiday. The guileless geese are just happy to be along for the ride, and the forest children are sweetly excited to get their special present.
Santa Bruce has laughter, generosity, and togetherness all wrapped into one—and isn’t that what the holidays are all about? A must buy for home holiday and anytime reading.
Ages 2 – 7
Disney-Hyperion, 2018 | ISBN 978-1484782903
Discover more about Ryan T. Higgins, his books, and his art on his website.
Christmas Eve Activity
Mini Accordion Book
With this craft you can make a little book for your own writing, pictures, or stickers. With a holiday-themed cover, you can use it as an advent calendar or holiday wish list. This little book would also make a fun gift to make for your friends.
- 12-inch by 12-inch sheet of scrapbooking paper – single or double sided
- Decorative scrapbooking paper, wrapping paper, or a page of the child’s own writing or drawing
- Stickers, pictures
- Draw a 3-inch border around the edge of the 12-inch by 12-inch sheet of scrapbooking paper. This will make a 6-inch square in the center of the paper
- Draw a line from the top of the paper to meet the left edge of the 6-inch square. The line will be 3 inches from the left side of the paper.
- Draw a 3-inch line from the top center of the 6-inch square to the center of the square
To Cut the Paper
- Beginning with the line at the top of the piece of paper, cut down the left edge of the 6-inch square.
- Cut across the bottom of the square.
- Cut up the right side of the square
- Cut across the top of the square to the line in the center.
- Cut down the 3-inch center line to the middle of the square
To Fold the Pages
- Draw light or dotted lines every 3 inches along the strip of paper
- Starting at the top of the strip, fold the paper on the lines accordion style.
- Make the first fold by folding the first 3-inch section down towards you.
- Fold the second 3-inch section back away from you
- Continue folding the 3-inch sections down and back until the strip is entirely folded
To Make the Cover
- Cut two 3 ½ -inch squares from the cardboard
- Cut two 4 ½-inch squares of from the decorative paper, wrapping paper, or child’s writing or drawing
- Cover the cardboard with the paper, folding the excess paper over the edges and securing with glue
To Assemble the Book
- With the strip of paper completely folded, glue one cover to the top 3-inch square
- Glue the second cover to the end 3-inch square
Fill the book with writing, drawings, stickers, whatever!
You can find Santa Bruce at these Booksellers
Picture Book Review