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Is this what animation looked like in 1980? Post-classic Disney and pre-Pixar was a bad, bad time. Even Disney had a dry spell, between the successes of The Rescuers (1977) and The Little Mermaid (1989). Into this void stepped Rick Reinert Productions, illustrating this book based on the 1973 TV special.
The bear's name is cheezy (Ted E. Bear) and so are the illustrations. The story by John Barrett is less at fault, though it is both predictable and full of negativity. Ted's co-workers laugh at him, his boss effectively fires him, fellow travelers mock him. Was this an inspiration for Elf?
I like that Santa arranges (a la Miracle on 34th Street) for the bear to become a present for the same little girl who earlier peered into the window. Sadly, the toy soldier's pessimism--"I don't think she can afford us."--seems like much sour grapes. With a bit less negativity and with a lot less hokey art, this book might have been alright. Wait, there's already a better book about bears meeting Santa and learning good lessons at Christmas: The Berenstain Bears Meet Santa Bear.
[NOTE: Somehow I have the "School & Library Edition" of The Bear Who Slept Through Christmas, which is marked with two different ISBNs: 0-516-09480-7 on the copyright page, and 0-516-29480-6 on the back cover. This appears to be the Childrens Press edition.]
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