Age Range: 4 - 8
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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)

Pub Date: March 1st, 2003
ISBN: 1-929132-41-7
Page count: 40pp
Publisher: Kane/Miller
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 2003