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MASHA AND THE BEAR by Lari Don Kirkus Star


From the Animal Stories series, volume 4

retold by Lari Don ; illustrated by Melanie Williamson

Age Range: 4 - 7

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 2013
ISBN: 978-1-84686-874-0
Publisher: Barefoot

Who’s afraid of a big bad bear?

This new addition to the fresh, new Animal Stories early reader series presents young readers with another folkloric delight. When young Masha enters a Russian forest to gather berries for her hungry brothers and sisters, she goes a little too far and gets very, very lost. A seemingly helpful bear offers to take her home, but unfortunately, he means to his home! Trapped in a cave and forced to sweep the floor and make pies, the very resourceful Masha must devise a plan to outsmart the bear and find her way back to her family. An excellent choice for early readers with some confidence, this selection also makes a fine read-aloud, though a bit of background on the tale would add to the whole experience. Stylized, colorful illustrations brim with appeal, and occasional speech bubbles echo the story’s gentle humor. Controlled vocabulary, with just enough repetition to help young readers along, blends nicely here with the accessible plot, pitch-perfect timing, and clever, satisfying ending. Will Masha manage to return to her family? Will the bear have to learn to bake his own pies? Tune in to this cheery, engaging tale to find out!

Wit, humor and a resourceful heroine come together in an irresistible folk tale for early readers and young listeners to savor. (Early reader/folk tale. 4-7)