February 23, 2012 | goulds
Soldier bear by written by Bibi Dumon Tak — is a wonderful, heartwarming novel based on a true story about a bear, Voytek, and a group of Polish soldiers who adopt him as a cub during World War II. Voytek grows into one smart bear who learns to act as a spy and carry bombs and, thereby, earns the honor of being made an official soldier of the company. While the horrors of war are not minimized, this delightful story keeps the reader laughing as it relates the crazy antics and mischief Voytek gets into. He is helped by a monkey and some dogs who are also part of the troop. During very difficult times he boosts the morale of all those he comes in contact with. Reading this real-life adventure, you realize just how special and emotionally fulfilling human-animal relationships can be. Drawings, actual photographs, a map, and an informative afterward enhance an already stellar piece of fascinating history.
Soldier Bear definitely earned ALA's 2012 Mildred L. Batchelder Award for the year's most outstanding translated children's book printed in the United States. It was originally published in the Netherlands in 2008. We are very fortunate this awesome story was made available to us in English!