Blogmas Day 1: Review of Santa Bruce by Ryan T Higgins

Published: 4th September 2018

Publisher: Disney Hyperion (Imprint of Disney Book Group)

Pages: 48

Format: Picture book (borrowed from the library)

RRP: $29.99

3/5 Stars

Bruce is a lot of things. He is a bear. He is a grump. He is a pretty decent cook. And he is a mother.
One thing Bruce is not?
Santa Claus.
But that doesn’t stop the whole forest from lining up to give him their Christmas wishes when he becomes the victim of mistaken identity – again.

Santa Bruce by Ryan T. Higgins is the fourth book in the popular children’s Bruce Series.

If you are unfamiliar with the series as I was, the series follows a bear named Bruce across a number of life alternating life moments. He becomes a mother in Mother Bruce when his goose eggs suddenly hatch and mistake him for their mother (his appetite for eggs is naturally lost); his home is turned into an unexpected hotel and trashed by guest in Hotel Bruce. Bruce tries to move out of his home to live alone in Bruce’s Big Move, and now in Santa Bruce, Bruce is mistaken for Santa Claus!

Bruce was a bear who did not like the holidays.

Bruce wants nothing more than to sleep the winter away. His family of mice have other plans, however, and grumpily Bruce finds himself forced into helping them getting ready for the festive season. As if that wasn’t enough for a grumpy, tired bear, Bruce is mistaken for Santa Clause when standing in his red snow gear. No number of denials will appease his growing number of fans and followers, and soon he finds himself ensnared in an opportunist scheme of the mice to deliver presents to all of the kids in the forest!

Bruce is a bear you can’t help but love. Although his story is not unique (how many books are there about grumpy bears?) I did somewhat enjoy this quirky tale of mistaken identity and festive cheer.  I admired Bruce’s character for suffering through the indignation of the charade for the sake of their forests children and parents. He wanted nothing to do with the world outside of his family, but he never turned the kids away and went along with the crazy shenanigans of his mice family like a trooper.

Higgins story is simple, a little bit quirky, but easy to read. His characters lack depth and personality, BUT that’s what makes them so universal and accessible to children all around the world. By using animals instead of people, Higgins has taken away the limits of representation (there is no issue of race or colour), opening the book to readers of all ages and backgrounds.

The text itself is simple and easy to understand. The illustrations are cartoonish, featuring bold outlines and Bruce is unusually coloured as a blue bear while everyone else appears to be semi-realistic in colouring.

All in all, the story is a bit of festive fun that will bring smiles to the kid’s faces as they watch Bruce find himself in more outlandish situations.

To purchase a copy of Santa Bruce, visit the following online retailers:

Amazon AUS | Amazon USAngus & Robertson | Barnes & Noble | Booktopia | Book Depository | Disney BooksDymocks |

To learn more about Ryan T. Higgins, visit the following social media pages:

Ryan T Higgins Website |  Twitter |



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