CM . . .
. Volume X Number 9 . . . . January 2, 2004
The story begins with a toy bear lost in the snowy woods. A little boy finds him and promises to solve the mystery of who has dropped him. As Max snuggles the bear to his chest, he follows footsteps in the snow. Along the way, he gathers on his sleigh a wind up duck, a ball, two toy soldiers, an electric train, a doll, and a kite he has found tangled in a tree. Max spies a figure in the distance and discovers it is Santa, himself, who has dropped the toys from a hole in his sack.
Vogel captures the essence of this kindly soul with his snow white beard and smiling eyes. Her full-page illustrations have a soft, muted tone. She adds just the right amount of detail, including the back cover of the book that depicts a blurred figure, protecting the identity of this mystery person for the pages inside.
The story itself is intriguing to young readers as Vogel invites them right away to participate in the action. Her imagery, especially at the beginning, is rich. She also draws on the sense of sound particularly to help Max on his voyage of discovery.
Vogel captures the loneliness of the bear in the excerpt above. She also conveys Max's emotions well his astonishment at finding Santa, his disappointment in seeing the special bear returned to Santa's sack, and his joy upon finding his bear friend under the tree on Christmas morning.
My preschooler and I enjoyed the mystery and magic of this Christmas story. Recommended for sharing aloud.
Julie Hunt is a teacher librarian in West Vancouver, BC.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.