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Hello, I'm Sam and I absolutely love Christmas, don't you?
Oh, you'll like this then, cos I'm going to read you
a story about somebody very special.
The story is called Careful, Santa!
And it's written by Julie Sykes with pictures by Tim Warnes.
It was Christmas Eve and Santa was loading presents onto his sleigh.
Santa's little mouse was helping too.
Whoosh! A gust of wind blew Santa's beard
straight in his face!
"Ho-ho-ho!" he chuckled.
"I can't see what I'm doing!"
"Careful, Santa!" warned Santa's cat.
"You mustn't lose that sack of presents."
"That would never do," Santa agreed,
as he carefully stored everything away.
Santa helped his little mouse climb aboard the sleigh.
"Hold on tight!" he boomed. "We're off!"
It was a wild and windy night.
"Oh, my!" shouted Santa, as the sleigh rocked this way and that.
Suddenly, the sack of presents began to move.
"Careful, Santa!" called Santa's little mouse.
"Mind that sack!" But Santa wasn't quick enough.
The sack slid across the sleigh and toppled overboard.
"Stop!" cried Santa in alarm.
"Down, Reindeer, down! I've lost all of the presents."
The reindeer struggled against the wind
and landed as gently as they could.
"Careful, Santa!" they shouted. But it was too late.
"Whoops!" cried Santa landing on his bottom.
Santa scrambled to his feet.
The presents were scattered far and wide and he hurried to pick them up.
He didn't notice the frozen pond.
"Whee!" cried Santa,
as he slid across the ice towards the duck house.
"Careful, Santa!" quacked the ducks, "You nearly squashed us!"
"How awful!" said Santa, as he gathered up the presents.
"Sorry about that. Has anyone seen my sack?"
"Here it is," chatted a squirrel from high in a tree.
Santa bravely climbed up, but before he knew it,
he was well and truly stuck.
"Oh, help!" he cried.
"Careful, Santa!" called the squirrel.
"I'm trying to be careful," said Santa, as he struggled to get free.
Very, very slowly, Santa climbed back down again,
dropping some presents as he went.
In the playground, a few presents were lying under the swings.
Santa put them into his sack, then he spotted some more on the slide.
"Whoosh!" cried Santa, as he whizzed down the slide.
"Careful, Santa, you're going too fast!" warned Santa's cat.
"Eeek! I can't stop!" said Santa, as he zoomed towards the snowman.
"Sorry, Snowman, I didn't mean to bump you," Santa said,
as he dusted himself down
and popped the last of the presents into his sack.
"That's it," he boomed, "it's time to deliver these presents.
But where was Mouse? Santa couldn't see her anywhere.
"Oh, dear!" he cried in alarm.
"First I lose my sack of presents and now I've lost my little mouse.
"This will never do."
The ducks, the squirrel and Santa's cat all crowded round.
"Don't worry, Santa," they chatted.
"She can't have gone far. We'll help you look for her."
Everyone looked for Mouse.
She wasn't in the duck house, she wasn't at the swings,
she wasn't near the slide, or behind the snowman.
Just then, Santa heard a familiar squeak.
He shone his torch upwards.
And there was Mouse, hanging from a branch in a tree.
"Careful," warned Santa, "it's far too windy to play up there.
"That branch doesn't look too safe to me."
But Mouse wasn't playing.
"I'm stuck!" she squeaked.
"Please get me down."
Quickly, Santa took off his jacket and spread it out on the ground.
Everyone gathered round and held the coat like a trampoline.
"Hold on tight, everyone, and don't let go!" said Santa.
"Ready, Mouse? One, two, three, jump!"
Mouse jumped and, with a bounce and a plop,
landed safely on Santa's coat.
"Hooray!" cheered Santa.
"Thank you, everyone."
It was time to go. Santa and Mouse hurried aboard their sleigh.
"Reindeer, up, up and away!" cried Santa.
Whoosh, blew the wind!
"Careful, Santa!" called everyone,
as the sleigh rocked this way and that.
"Look after that mouse and hold on tight to that sack!"
Thank goodness Santa and his animal friends were there to save the day.
Sometimes, you really do need a little help from your friends.
Now, snuggle up, get cosy, and drift off to sleep.
Night-night and merry Christmas!