I have worked Bear and Mouse's first book into a dozen different story times, and I just realized I never reviewed it! I literally squeed* out loud when I saw this title up for review, and immediately asked for a copy.
(*That is too a word, go away spell check)
One frosty night, Bear hears a tap, tap, tapping on his front door. "Merry Christmas!" cries Mouse. Mouse is there for a Christmas party, and Bear has never had one before, but he’s certain that pickles (preferably from France) must be an essential component, along with the reading of a long and difficult poem. The problem is, whenever Bear comes back from the kitchen with more treats, Mouse has vanished — only to be found, small and gray and guilty-eyed, scurrying under the bed or rifling through the closet. Will there be even a tiny present involved? "Hogwash!" scolds Bear.
It did not disappoint in the least. A very satisfying story to read aloud (doing Bear's lofty tones and Mouse's timid requests is almost too easy with this text!), it is going smack at the top of my holiday story time list. Bear even reminded me a little bit of myself with my kids, teasing just a bit and then having to be rather obvious about my surprise. And the poem he reads is the same one Daddy reads at our house every Christmas Eve!
The illustrations are charming, soft watercolors in wintery hues. I even got an idea for a stocking stuffer* for my starry-eyed boy. And if you'll excuse me now, I need to see about ordering pickles from France.
*NOTE: This title has been nominated for the Cybils Award, and I am a first round panelist. There are many nominations and six other judges. My opinions should not be construed as a sign of inclusion or exclusion on the final short list.
* Psst! Don't tell Logan, but I ordered this for his stocking, and it already came in: