Santa Bruce (Ryan T. Higgins)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Santa Bruce by Ryan T. Higgins, a festive adventure with the perennially grouchy bear Bruce and his unusual family of geese children and mouse roommates.

The geese and mice have decked the halls and trimmed the tree – much to Bruce’s irritation. The put-upon bear only wants to hibernate for Christmas, but his family wants to celebrate, so the old grump does what he must. He even shovels snow in his bright red coat and hat – and that’s where the trouble starts. Once again, Bruce becomes a victim of mistaken identity… but this time that identity is SANTA! Soon, young critters are lined up at the door to tell “Santa” their Christmas wishes. Quickly latching on to the opportunity for merrymaking, the mice and geese play along, even promising that Bruce will hand-deliver presents to all the kids for Christmas morning. Bruce just wants to sleep! Will he find it in him to spread some holiday cheer?

Another hilarious and wonderful Bruce & family tale. Bruce’s perpetual gruffness – and reluctant yet genuine affection for his family – is made for a Christmas story, and Higgin’s brand of deadpan humor and physical comedy pulls it off perfectly. The art is charming as always, especially Bruce’s doe-eyed young admirers and the bear’s hilarious body language. The length is great, and JJ and I loved it. A wonderful seasonal addition to the series, and we recommend it. Baby Bookworm approved!

Mother Bruce (Ryan T. Higgins)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Mother Bruce by Ryan T. Higgins, a hilarious tale of a bear, four goslings, and a case of mistaken identity.

Bruce the bear is, simply put, a grouch. He doesn’t like sunny days or cute animals, and he hates most everything. The only thing he enjoys is eggs, and cooking them into fancy recipes he finds online. One day, while attempting such a meal, he goes out for more firewood, returning to discover his eggs destroyed… by the four baby goslings that have hatched from them. Worse yet, the goslings seem to think that Bruce is their mother! He will have to figure out what to do with these pesky babies – being “Mama” Bruce was definitely not on the menu.

This is one of the most fun books in JJ’s library to read, and it never fails to raise a chuckle out of us. Between Bruce’s comically sour disposition, the deadpan humor of the text, and the fantastic illustrations and visual gags in the art, it’s an immensely enjoyable read every time. I especially love the rather unexpected ending which, besides being hilarious, has a heartwarming lesson: family doesn’t always have to be genetic. The length is great, and JJ loves this one so much; we would recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good laugh with just a dash of tenderness. Baby Bookworm approved!

Hotel Bruce (Ryan T. Higgins)

Hello, friends! Today, we read Hotel Bruce by Ryan T. Higgins, a hilarious tale of a grumpy bear and his rather unwelcome guests.

A sequel to the absolutely fabulous Mother Bruce (which you should go read NOW if you haven’t already), Hotel Bruce continues the story of “Mother” Bruce, a grumpy bear who accidentally became parent to four hapless geese. Every year, he takes them south to Miami for the winter, bringing them back in spring. It’s very tiring, and when Bruce returns home, he is looking forward to relaxing in his den – only to find his home has been turned into a trendy inn by three enterprising mice! His bed is filled with moose and bunnies, a wiley fox has taken over his kitchen, and the geese are no help at all, dressing up as bellhops and playing along. Can Bruce control his nasty temper, yet still rid his home of these pesky beasts?

This was a fun romp of a story, with the same tongue-in-cheek text and visual gags that made the previous Bruce story so charming. And while this one had slightly less emotional impact than its prequel, it filled that portion of the narrative with some genuinely laugh-out-loud jokes and a strangely satisfying message: sometimes, it’s okay to lose your temper if it means standing up for yourself, especially if someone is taking advantage of you. The illustrations are fabulous, funny, and full of energy, and the length is great for little readers. JJ enjoyed this one a lot, and older kids who will get the jokes and sight gags will love it even more. A fun story for Bruce and his geese, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!