The old people remember well that bears have carried off children in the past, but they never seem to have eastern them."" That is the best comfort that can be given to the family at Garden Farm when the youngest, Anna, disappears--presumably snatched away by a mother bear looking for her own kidnapped cub. Anna is never described until after she has been successfully retrieved, and she and her two brothers are too young and helpless to receive much reader attention. Mother can empathize with the bear's feelings as well as suffer over her own loss, and finally ignores common sense and helpful advice to carry out the exchange of offspring. She is the character who will pull reader sympathy--but more likely from other mothers rather than from their children. Solitary, unfeeling Knut the Hunter, who was responsible for seizing the cub, is a difficult personality to reconcile. While he is not really evil, he has no redeeming virtues. His cruel, unfair shooting of the bear after her meeting with and acceptance of the humans leaves a gap in the story that requires more explanation than is given. It's an unusual, rather old-fashioned tale with a quaint, Norwegian aura, but it will have a hard time finding an audience.