A sweet, often poignant tale of survival that may spur interest in a magnificent species.

Shasta and Her Cubs


Inspired by the years he spent in Canada’s Kananaskis Provincial Park, Robson (The Prophecy, 2014, etc.) crafts an anthropomorphic story of a young grizzly named Shasta and her day-to-day struggles to raise her first litter of cubs.

Written in third-person with a focus on mother Shasta, this story of survival begins when her cubs—Kodiak (a strong male), Koda (a strong female), and Mato (a small, weak male)—are but a few days old. The tale continues into the cubs’ fourth year, when they will set out on their own. Shasta’s memories—such as her reasons for coupling with a majestic male named Ursus—are sprinkled throughout the narrative. Even though the bears are given human personalities, the book is intended for “a more mature nature enthusiast,” writes the author. Indeed, the attribution of human emotions to grizzlies makes the tone feel juvenile at times; for example, “Shasta smiled as she considered her choice of such a good den in which to give birth to her first cubs.” Nevertheless, Robson succeeds in realistically portraying the difficulties of grizzly survival—e.g., little Mato is attacked by an eagle—as well as the triumphs, as when Shasta manages to kill two elk for sustenance during a drought. Survival is paramount, and Shasta is determined to continue her bloodline. The narrative voice flows smoothly, and language is often poetic, as in a vivid description of Shasta’s smallest cub, Mato: “He would likely darken with time, but for now, his fur was the color of the tall blonde stalks of dry meadow grass that covered the ground after the snow melts and before the new green shoots emerged.” In fact, the adult vocabulary—shadows at dusk “had coalesced into the darkness of night”—is sometimes better suited for older teens and adults. A short discussion of basic grizzly behavior follows the story, as do footnotes, a nature glossary, and references for further reading.

A sweet, often poignant tale of survival that may spur interest in a magnificent species.

Pub Date: Sept. 11, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4602-6955-8

Page Count: 126

Publisher: FriesenPress

Review Posted Online: Nov. 12, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2015

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A first novel, this is also a first person account of Scout's (Jean Louise) recall of the years that led to the ending of a mystery, the breaking of her brother Jem's elbow, the death of her father's enemy — and the close of childhood years. A widower, Atticus raises his children with legal dispassion and paternal intelligence, and is ably abetted by Calpurnia, the colored cook, while the Alabama town of Maycomb, in the 1930's, remains aloof to their divergence from its tribal patterns. Scout and Jem, with their summer-time companion, Dill, find their paths free from interference — but not from dangers; their curiosity about the imprisoned Boo, whose miserable past is incorporated in their play, results in a tentative friendliness; their fears of Atticus' lack of distinction is dissipated when he shoots a mad dog; his defense of a Negro accused of raping a white girl, Mayella Ewell, is followed with avid interest and turns the rabble whites against him. Scout is the means of averting an attack on Atticus but when he loses the case it is Boo who saves Jem and Scout by killing Mayella's father when he attempts to murder them. The shadows of a beginning for black-white understanding, the persistent fight that Scout carries on against school, Jem's emergence into adulthood, Calpurnia's quiet power, and all the incidents touching on the children's "growing outward" have an attractive starchiness that keeps this southern picture pert and provocative. There is much advance interest in this book; it has been selected by the Literary Guild and Reader's Digest; it should win many friends.

Pub Date: July 11, 1960

ISBN: 0060935464

Page Count: 323

Publisher: Lippincott

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1960

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While a few weeks ago it seemed as if Praeger would have a two month lead over Dutton in their presentation of this Soviet best seller, both the "authorized" edition (Dutton's) and the "unauthorized" (Praeger's) will appear almost simultaneously. There has been considerable advance attention on what appears to be as much of a publishing cause celebre here as the original appearance of the book in Russia. Without entering into the scrimmage, or dismissing it as a plague on both your houses, we will limit ourselves to a few facts. Royalties from the "unauthorized" edition will go to the International Rescue Committee; Dutton with their contracted edition is adhering to copyright conventions. The Praeger edition has two translators and one of them is the translator of Doctor Zhivago Dutton's translator, Ralph Parker, has been stigmatized by Praeger as "an apologist for the Soviet regime". To the untutored eye, the Dutton translation seems a little more literary, the Praeger perhaps closer to the rather primitive style of the original. The book itself is an account of one day in the three thousand six hundred and fifty three days of the sentence to be served by a carpenter, Ivan Denisovich Shukhov. (Solzhenitsyn was a political prisoner.) From the unrelenting cold without, to the conditions within, from the bathhouse to the latrine to the cells where survival for more than two weeks is impossible, this records the hopeless facts of existence as faced by thousands who went on "living like this, with your eyes on the ground". The Dutton edition has an excellent introduction providing an orientation on the political background to its appearance in Russia by Marvin Kalb. All involved in its publication (translators, introducers, etc.) claim for it great "artistic" values which we cannot share, although there is no question of its importance as a political and human document and as significant and tangible evidence of the de-Stalinization program.

Pub Date: June 15, 1963

ISBN: 0451228146

Page Count: 181

Publisher: Praeger

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1963

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