A Christmas for Bear

illus. by Kady McDonald Denton. 48p. Candlewick. Sept. 2017. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780763649234.
PreS-Gr 1—Becker and Denton team up once again for a holiday episode that sweetly acknowledges how the friendship between Bear and Mouse has grown from their first meeting in A Visitor for Bear and the multiple titles since then. The watercolor, ink, and gouache illustrations remain consistent, as does Bear's and Mouse's routines. Bear, committed to propriety and insistent that Christmas be all about poetry and pickles, is repeatedly foiled by the "small and gray and bright-eyed" Mouse and his ability to disappear from a room, this time to look for presents. He is as effervescent as ever and only subdued when Bear seems unlikely to waver from his oratory plans. However, Bear, doubling down on his curmudgeonly ways with comically pointed and increasingly louder hints to Mouse, makes the Christmas magic reveal even more of a surprise.
VERDICT The warm and playful use of the familiar story structure and characters make for a read-aloud that will add smiles to the holiday.

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