Project Description

Activity Sheets

The Santa Trap

by Jonathan Emmett
illustrated by Poly Bernatene

Bradley Bartleby is bad. Very bad.

To avoid Bradley’s wrath, his wealthy parents buy him whatever he wants.  All the adults in Bradley’s life are running scared―except for Santa Claus, who refuses to give him anything but socks. But Bradley vows to get what he deserves. If Santa won’t give him the gifts he wants, Bradley will just have to steal them. In the end, he transforms his house into a trap so fearsome even his parents refuse to enter it. With dynamite, trapdoors, guillotines, and tigers in his path, Santa doesn’t stand a chance. Or does he?

Jonathan Emmet gives readers a Christmas tale from a new and devious perspective. Poly Bernatene’s illustrations perfectly complement the story of the spoiled Bradley, making this a hilarious and exciting story that will keep readers laughing from beginning to end.

Format: Hardcover
Price: $15.95
ISBN: 978-1-56145-670-3
Publication Date: 10/1/2012
Page Count: 32
Size: 9-1/2″ x 12″
Age Range: 6 – 10
Language: English
AR Level: 4.6
GRL: N, Gr 3
Lexile: AD850L
Themes: Christmas, Consequences, Gifts, Pranks
BISAC 1: JUV017010 JUVENILE FICTION / Holidays & Celebrations / Christmas & Advent
BISAC 2: JUV019000 JUVENILE FICTION / Humorous Stories


“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.” ―Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW

“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.” ―Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

“This funny, beautifully illustrated story will have you talking about the importance of ‘being good for goodness’ sake.” ―The Washington Post

“Bernatene’s digital mixed-media illustrations are a perfectly creepy fit to this unusual holiday tale…fans of the Addams Family and Emily the Strange shenanigans might appreciate the dark humor.” ―School Library Journal

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“The no-holds-barred humor—both author and illustrator are not afraid to pull out all the stops with Bradley’s inventive weapons—is refreshingly funny.”Kirkus Reviews, Feature

“Bernatene’s bright, cartoony paintings offer proportions and distortions reminiscent of animated features like Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas….A solid find for readers more comfortable with videos than with stories on pages.” ―Booklist Online

“In a humorous twist ending, it’s Bradley who’s served his comeuppance (and another pair of socks). Bernatene’s digital illustrations bring the troublemaker’s beastliness to life in this cautionary tale disguised as a holiday romp.” ―The Horn Book Guide

“In the laugh-out-loud but decidedly iconoclastic ‘The Santa Trap’…a spoiled rich boy vows to ‘catch the fat fool and take every present he’s got.’” ―Newsday

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Best of 2012 List ―Kirkus Reviews, 2012

Storytelling World Resource Awards (Winner, Stories for Pre-Adolescent Listeners) ―Storytelling World Magazine, 2014

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Meet the Author

Jonathan Emmett, in addition to writing picture books, also writes and paperengineers pop-up books. He is the author of several books, including The Princess and the Pig, also illustrated by Poly Bernatene. He lives in England. You can visit his website here.

Meet the Illustrator

Poly Bernatene is a visiting professor at Buenos Aires School of Fine Art. He has worked in advertising, animation, and comics, and has illustrated over sixty children’s books. He lives in Argentina. You can visit his website here.