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Bear Dance

Bear Dance

by Jan Wahl, Monique Felix (Illustrator)

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
In the forest Bear dances happily amid the birds and wildflowers until the moon rises. Suddenly men capture him and take him away in a cage. They feed him only if he stands on his hind legs, to hop and "dance" to their music in the marketplace. At night he manages to escape through the fields, climbs up a mountain, and washes his sore feet in patches of snow. Then in the sun he is free to dance his own dance again. The brief text, often set in lines like poetry, finds spiritual partnership with Felix's fuzzy, appealing, naturalistic brown bear. The tale is set in some quaint European town of long ago and in surrounding forests. Our sympathy is entirely with the bear and his desire to be free as the townsfolk mistreat him. The jacket, in contrast to the simple, blue-bound tan cover, contrasts the chained, angry bear on the back and the free, happy bear on the front dancing with bluebirds. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal

Gr 1-3

With concise words and picturesque art, this book exhibits the joy in freedom of expression and the inadvisability of humanity's effort to contain it. Bear danced "...to bluebirds' sweet feathery music...until the moon rose and moon rays tickled his feet." He dances with gleeful exuberance on his face and his satisfaction in sleep is obvious. Bear's idyllic existence, however, ends in a setting reminiscent of medieval Europe, as men rob him of his carefree life in the wild, put him behind bars, collar him with bells, and train him-swaying on hind legs-to move to their own drumbeat and violin. Brief text, as expressive as the large images and pastel art, fills a succession of double-page images, allowing readers to empathize first with the plight of Bear and later to rejoice in his unrestrained dance of celebrated freedom. The richness of the palette highlights Bear and his wide range of emotions from delight to anger, sadness, and fear. This is a book to enjoy on dual levels, both as a simple artistic tale and as recognition of the interaction between humans and nature.-Mary Elam, Forman Elementary School, Plano, TX

Product Details

Creative Company, The
Publication date:
Creative Editions Series
Product dimensions:
8.30(w) x 12.30(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range:
5 - 18 Years

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