Deliverance of Dancing Bears

Deliverance of Dancing Bears

by E. STANLEY, Elizabeth Stanley
     
 
Chosen as an honor book by the Children's Book Council of Australia The Deliverance of Dancing Bears is a contemporary fable about a dancing bear, whose dreams of freedom keep her spirit alive despite the pain and degradation of her existence. Into this setting comes a noble-minded peasant who liberates the bear and reminds onlookers that the dignity of all living

Overview

Chosen as an honor book by the Children's Book Council of Australia The Deliverance of Dancing Bears is a contemporary fable about a dancing bear, whose dreams of freedom keep her spirit alive despite the pain and degradation of her existence. Into this setting comes a noble-minded peasant who liberates the bear and reminds onlookers that the dignity of all living creatures must be respected.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publishers Weekly
Teeth sawn off, claws stunted, her back beaten with a wooden rod, a dancing bear performs all day, but spends her nights "curled into herself, eyes closed, wandering the forests of her mind." Readers may find Australian Stanley's frank, moving portrayal of the abused ursine entertainer tough going at first, but ultimately they will be heartened by the turn of events. Equally poignant illustrations play up the contrast between the bear's reality versus her fantasies of freedom. Stanley renders a spread of the bear's vision of fishing in a stream in lush blues and foamy white, and a predominantly golden spread of her cuddling her cubs in realistic pastel strokes on ribbed paper. While held captive, the bear is depicted in purples, blues and oranges that show up even in the bear's coat, creating an otherworldly aura. A respected village elder buys the bear's freedom, and when he offers his savings a second time for a dancing cub, the crowd rises up against the cruel trainer-but the elder stops them: "Sometimes one must pay a high price for a different life, for a life one has dreamed of." Illustrations of the bear with her liberator return to lifelike shades, indicating that the bear's reality and dream life have at last united. Other than an occasional lapse into loftiness ("a fitting kind of restitution," for example), Stanley delicately and accessibly addresses rather big concepts-animal rights, selflessness and how one person can move a crowd from "dumb curiosity" to moral outrage. Ages 5-9. (Mar.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
Gr 2-5-A 1995 Australian Picture Book of the Year honor winner. In this thought-provoking and sincere story, Stanley presents the plight of the dancing bears of Turkey and Greece whom she first witnessed in 1979. Constructing a "contemporary fable" from her experience, the author tells the story of a captive bear whose dreams of freedom sustain her, even while being forced to perform in a Turkish marketplace by a cruel and angry keeper. During the quiet hours when she is confined to her cage, the bear imagines a different life in which she is free to wander through mountain streams and sleep lazily with her cubs. The degradation continues until the day an old peasant with a generous and empathetic spirit offers to buy her, releasing her from her chains. The somber and meaningful tone of the text underscores the author's purposeful intent without over-sentimentalizing. Large-scale, highly textured illustrations in a rich palette of purples, blues, red, and gold effectively convey the bear's hardships as well as her dreams. An author's note explains that the animals are now protected; even so, this book provides a compelling springboard toward many important topics including cruelty to animals, freedom versus captivity, and the sustaining power of dreams.-Teri Markson, Stephen S. Wise Temple Elementary School, Los Angeles Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
An unusual story based on fact carries a richly satisfying message. Day after day a bear is forced to dance for the people filling the crowded square. Made to submit by the presence of the iron ring piercing her nose and the cruelty of her owner, she retreats each night into her own mind to dream of a different life, one full of babies, cool streams, and endless fields. People watch, stunned to see the beautiful bear dancing on her hind legs, head swinging from side to side as the chain tethered to her nose pulls her around. One evening, as they return from another day full of humiliation and pain, an old man stops the cruel master and asks to buy her. Agreeing to a steep price, he leads the bear to his home and sets her free to live the rest of her days in comfort. However, the cruel master soon finds another means of entertaining the crowds. He has captured another bear, this time a cub. Again, the old man offers all that he has to save the animal. Finally, humbled by the man�s devotion, the townspeople join him and demand that the cub be freed. Together the bear and the cub can finally live the dreams that have kept the bear alive for so long. Illustrations rendered in what appear to be pastels on textured paper capture the scenes of a Turkish market and its denizens. A postscript by the author explains her passion for this issue and provides information on how to join the activism for saving the dancing bears and other abused animals. (Picture book. 4-8)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781929132416
Publisher:
Kane/Miller Book Publishers
Publication date:
03/28/2003
Edition description:
1 AMER ED
Pages:
40
Product dimensions:
11.40(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range:
5 - 9 Years

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