As my friend Gerry says, young children learn wonderful lessons from books about talking animals and other fantastical creatures. It's the sort of peculiar magic that helps them absorb abstract concepts like honor, responsibility, and respect while they're still too young to grasp them in adult terms. Eventually they make the transition into adult thinking, and then bunnies that cook and attend school are no longer needed. As G.K. Chesterton once testified, the child's belief in Santa Claus, a giver of undeserved gifts, can be a sparkling transition to the adult notion of Jesus Christ as the Great Giver of the greatest of undeserved gifts. In a stable, devout family, it can incline their hearts toward Christ.
I'm intrigued by what Danielle Bean does with her kids. Perhaps I, too, should have invited my daughter to pretend to believe from the start. Then I wouldn't be dragging around the sorrowful memory of a little girl grieving the death of Santa when she should have been rejoicing in the newborn Messiah.