×

Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

The Bear Makers
     

The Bear Makers

by Andrea Cheng
 

One family's story of survival in postwar Hungary, 1948. In Budapest after the war, when Kata’s family first returns from hiding, they are glad to be alive and hopeful that life will improve. But the secret police is questioning everyone about their loyalty to the Hungarian Workers Party, and conditions seem to be worsening. The eleven-year-old doesn’t

Overview


One family's story of survival in postwar Hungary, 1948. In Budapest after the war, when Kata’s family first returns from hiding, they are glad to be alive and hopeful that life will improve. But the secret police is questioning everyone about their loyalty to the Hungarian Workers Party, and conditions seem to be worsening. The eleven-year-old doesn’t understand why her brother Bela is acting so differently or why he hasn’t come home from his recent excursion. Her father used to own the factory, but now, as an employee, his wages continue to fall. She helps her mother sew the bears they will sell on the black market, but when Kata learns that Bela has escaped the country, she grows angry and sad. In time, she hopes that Bela will make it to America and will send for his family.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Claudia Mills
Based on a family story told to Andrea Cheng by her Hungarian grandmother, this is a quietly compelling portrait of 11-year-old Kata's determined efforts to help her struggling family in postwar Hungary. Although World War II is finally over, and Kata's family no longer has to hide their Jewish identity, the Hungarian Workers Party's constant surveillance and ideological rigidity are hardly an improvement. Kata's father, demoted to menial toil in the factory he once owned, has fallen into depression; Kata's beloved older brother has escaped to the promise of the West; Kata's mother tries to support the family by making and selling plastic yellow handbags and stuffed toy bears on the black market. At once too young for her age (Kata keeps falling in love with the bears and giving them personalities and names) and forced to be too old (keeping the secrets that could lead her family to arrest by the communist secret police), Kata is an extremely likeable narrator, confiding the frightening events that befall her family with simple, straightforward hope and innocence. Once again, Cheng (The Lace Dowry) has created a small gem of a novel that collapses time and distance to make its foreign world directly and movingly accessible to young American readers. Reviewer: Claudia Mills, Ph.D.
School Library Journal

Gr 5-8

Eleven-year-old Kata is still too much a child to understand the political tensions swirling around her in post-World War II Hungary where her once-successful father has become depressed, her mother illegally sells stuffed animals, and her older brother flees to the West. Kata's clear, first-person voice never loses the child's point of view. Even as her older neighbor changes enough to rebel against her parents' demands that she become a Young Pioneer leader, Kata only sees that Eva has again become her friend. Thoughtful readers, however, will see between the lines and find enough detail to understand something of the political background and the family's precarious situation even if they have not previously studied the history of Soviet satellite countries. As she did in Marika (Boyds Mills, 1998), Cheng has based her story on her Hungarian family history; each chapter begins with a photograph of a piece of the instructions for the bears her grandmother made. This book reads like a memoir, and it is a thoroughly convincing recollection of a vanished world.-Kathleen Isaacs, Towson University, MD

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781590785188
Publisher:
Highlights Press
Publication date:
11/01/2008
Pages:
124
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.80(d)
Lexile:
500L (what's this?)
Age Range:
11 - 14 Years

Meet the Author


Andrea Cheng teaches English as a Second Language in Cincinnati. She is the daughter of Hungarian Jewish immigrants and grew up among extended family members, many of whom survived the Holocaust. Her family spoke mostly Hungarian at home. 

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews