The Santa Trap

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
“Bradley’s parents always gave him whatever he demanded, not because they thought he deserved it, but because they were terrified of him.” Bradley Bartleby was “born bad,” and as a result, he gets socks from Santa every Christmas. Fed up, he spends an entire year turning his parents’ mansion into a diabolical trap for the jolly old elf, one that involves dynamite, guillotines, and tigers (an especially grim scene shows Bradley grinning as he holds the disembodied head of a Santa dummy). Bernatene’s cinematic mixed-media illustrations work wicked magic with Emmett’s darkly comedic prose, as Bradley’s plans backfire explosively. An ideal Christmas present for children who prefer Halloween. Ages 6–10. (Oct.)
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Mean Bradley Bartleby scowls at us from a large chair on the cover. He was "born bad," and has grown progressively "badder." His immensely rich parents always give him whatever he demands because they are terrified of him. Every Christmas Bradley sends a long request list to Santa Claus. Knowing how bad Bradley is, kind-hearted Santa still always leaves him a present, the same every year, a pair of socks. This year, fed up, Bradley decides to build a trap for Santa and get all the presents he is carrying. All year Bradley works at the trap, from setting dynamite in their other chimney and fitting doors and window with guillotines to putting trap doors in the floors. On Christmas Eve, while waiting, he falls asleep. What happens when he wakes up makes for an amusing but fair ending. The visual tale is told with nasty, naturalistic scenes filled with appropriate details aimed at ultimate destruction. Bradley is so mean that his gestures scare even the other cartoon-y characters. Bernatene fully exploits digital mixed media to create this noire-ish cinema-like storyboard. On the back jacket is the warning: Contains no peace and no goodwill. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
Gr 2–4—A beastly boy gets his comeuppance, partially due to his own efforts, and partially thanks to that wily old elf, Santa Claus. Bradley Bartleby starts out bad (at birth, he stole the doctor's stethoscope), and gets worse as he gets older. His wealthy, overindulgent, and frankly terrified parents give in to his every whim, but Santa thwarts him every Christmas with a token pair of socks. Bradley plots hideous revenge, but Santa (unseen except in Bradley's imagination through the entire book) gets the last word with his well-considered holiday gift. Bernatene's digital mixed-media illustrations are a perfectly creepy fit to this unusual holiday tale. There's no telling whether or not Santa's intervention will change Bradley's evil ways, and some might find this budding fiend more than a little disturbing, but fans of the Addams Family and Emily the Strange shenanigans might appreciate the dark humor.—Mara Alpert, Los Angeles Public Library
Kirkus Reviews
A beady-eyed brat sits in a red, thronelike chair, glaring out of the cover in this hilarious, bizarre holiday story. What's that machinery behind him, and what is that kid up to? That's Bradley Bartleby on the throne, and he's bad, bad to the bone. He terrifies his "immensely rich" parents, mistreats his pet elephant and demands a huge list of presents every Christmas. But Santa brings him just one gift each year, a pair of socks. So the outraged Bradley builds a Santa trap in the chimney, planting dynamite at the bottom. He extends his trap to all the chimneys and adds tigers, guillotines and trapdoors. His parents decamp to a hotel, leaving Bradley alone on Christmas Eve, when he inadvertently falls into his own trap. But he is not forgotten by Santa, who still leaves him a pair of socks, along with a box of bandages and some antiseptic, in a slam-dunk conclusion that finds Bradley inside his own metal cage. The cleverly constructed plot unfolds with perfect comedic timing and dry wit, complemented by digitally produced mixed-media illustrations that have a suitably sinister, magnetic charm. Bernatene's artwork uses dark colors, shadows and cinematic perspectives to bring Bradley's world into believable focus. Now, some will find these devilishly delinquent developments positively beyond the bounds of good taste. But many others will say, "Naughty. But nice." (Picture book. 5-9)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781561456703
  • Publisher: Peachtree Publishers, Ltd.
  • Publication date: 10/1/2012
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 799,901
  • Age range: 6 - 10 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.20 (w) x 12.00 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 8, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    The Santa Trap - A Must Have Before Christmas!!

    Bradley Bartleby is a very spoiled and self-centered little boy. He makes demands and expects those demands to be obeyed. He has even dared to make demands of Santa Claus. He demands Santa to bring him every item he has on his long list.

    Santa sees all the bad things Bradley does all year round. So every Christmas Bradley receives only one pair of lovely socks under the tree from Santa. This was the last time this would happen he thought. He went into a rage and his parents tried to pacify him by telling him they had bought all of the gifts on his list. But that was not going to satisfy Bradley. Evidently he wanted Santa to meet his every demand just like everyone else in his life.

    So he schemes and steams, rants and raves. Then he starts setting traps all through his house to trap Santa next Christmas and take every toy and gift from Santa and his sleigh.

    What will the other children do if Bradley traps Santa and steals all the toys and gifts? What kind of Christmas will that be without Santa?

    The author has given an extreme example of the behavior of many children's expectations of Santa and Christmas. Then she shows our children how such horrible behavior is looked upon by others and how this behavior is rewarded by Santa not giving into the child's demands. Negative behavior meets negative consequences.

    The illustrations WOW! BOLD! VIBRANT! Very in sync with the story. They will delight and tickle every child's imagination that opens this book.

    Be sure to get the book before Christmas. It may help children to have a more positive and realistic attitude about their wishlist for Christmas. I need to send a copy to my five daughters so they can share it with my fifteen grandchildren. Hey, maybe Santa's list will be a little shorter this year. NOT!!

    I highly recommend this book.

    Disclosure
    I received a free copy of this book from Peachtree Publishers for review. I was in no way compensated for this review. It is my own opinion.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 13, 2013

    I love this book and was thrilled to add it to our holiday tradi

    I love this book and was thrilled to add it to our holiday traditions! I sat down in B&N, opened this up and began reading- all three of my boys (then 3, 7 and 9) sat quietly around and listened. I bought it right away. We read it regularly and still all enjoy it. As an illustrator, I was personally thrilled by the art in it. It is dark with just the right bit of color and contrast. There is a lesson in it that is crafted rather than blandly shared with the kids, an all too common occurrence in children's books! I would buy this book again and again and have been looking for more from the author and illustrator (they're out there, and they're just as lovely!)

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 26, 2013

    Sorry I bought it

    This book was not at all appropriate for early elementary aged children or my own boys, ages 3 and 6. Too devious and creepy. Not my best online purchase :(

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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