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The Bear Who Wanted to Be a Bear

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Highlighting issues of environmental protection, human identity, and the pursuit of self, this remarkable modern fable brings philosophical subjects to the forefront through humor and imagination. When a brown bear awakes from hibernation, he is surprised to find that a modern factory has been built right over his den. His bewilderment only grows when a factory guard mista Highlighting issues of environmental protection, human identity, and the pursuit of self, this remarkable modern fable brings philosophical subjects to the forefront through humor and imagination. When a brown bear awakes from hibernation, he is surprised to find that a modern factory has been built right over his den. His bewilderment only grows when a factory guard mistakes him for an unshaven human and, failing to prove his identity, is forced to become a factory worker.


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Highlighting issues of environmental protection, human identity, and the pursuit of self, this remarkable modern fable brings philosophical subjects to the forefront through humor and imagination. When a brown bear awakes from hibernation, he is surprised to find that a modern factory has been built right over his den. His bewilderment only grows when a factory guard mista Highlighting issues of environmental protection, human identity, and the pursuit of self, this remarkable modern fable brings philosophical subjects to the forefront through humor and imagination. When a brown bear awakes from hibernation, he is surprised to find that a modern factory has been built right over his den. His bewilderment only grows when a factory guard mistakes him for an unshaven human and, failing to prove his identity, is forced to become a factory worker.

30 review for The Bear Who Wanted to Be a Bear

  1. 4 out of 5

    Amar Pai

    I don't use the word "odd" lightly, but I have to say this is an odd book. It's sort of a Marxist parable... well maybe not Marxist but some sort of political philosophy involving oppressed workers divorced from the products of their labor. This bear falls asleep and when he wakes up a factory's been built over his cave, and when he comes out everybody thinks he's a lazybones worker. They make him wear a uniform and try out for different "jobs" (bear skin rug, circus bear, etc.) but he's not int I don't use the word "odd" lightly, but I have to say this is an odd book. It's sort of a Marxist parable... well maybe not Marxist but some sort of political philosophy involving oppressed workers divorced from the products of their labor. This bear falls asleep and when he wakes up a factory's been built over his cave, and when he comes out everybody thinks he's a lazybones worker. They make him wear a uniform and try out for different "jobs" (bear skin rug, circus bear, etc.) but he's not interested in working cos he just wants to be a bear. But he starts to forget that. Finally in the end he escapes and remembers his essential bear-ness. The art in this book is great. It's all done in a Soviet-era realism style. (Again I'm not entirely sure if that's a thing but I think it is.) The story however is a bit too on the nose... it sounds odd to say but it lacks any sense of absurdity, the story is played completely straight and the moral about getting caught up in the industrial system seems a little too obvious. There's also a fair amount of text, way too much for a 3 year old at least. I don't think this book is a kid's book... but I don't know what else I'd call it. I guess this book is a good counterpoint to all the worker bee / animals dressed in suits type books targeted at kids. Seriously, there really is a book (Busy Bees at Work and Play) where Mama Worker Bee goes to visit all these other bees working at their jobs-- Plumber Bee, Accountant Bee, etc-- and the point of there book is to teach your kid that everybody has to work! I've read this book to Izzy a bunch of times and am only now realizing what a piece of wage-slave capitalist propaganda it is! So The Bear Who Wanted to Be a Bear serves as a fitting riposte. Plus I love the title.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Lesley

    I am so so excited to see this book is still in print, as my tattered childhood copy is currently held together with silver duct tape. This is a children's book about a bear who emerges from hibernation to find that his beloved woods have been razed and a huge factory has been build right on top of his den. Disoriented and probably scared shitless, he wanders around until he is confronted by an evil looking factory manager who scolds him for being unshaven and out of uniform, calls him a no good I am so so excited to see this book is still in print, as my tattered childhood copy is currently held together with silver duct tape. This is a children's book about a bear who emerges from hibernation to find that his beloved woods have been razed and a huge factory has been build right on top of his den. Disoriented and probably scared shitless, he wanders around until he is confronted by an evil looking factory manager who scolds him for being unshaven and out of uniform, calls him a no good lazy bones, and forces him to dress himself, shave his face, and punch in on the time clock. When the bear finally realizes what is happening to him and tries to explain to his bosses that he is in fact a bear, they tell him bears don't work in factories, he works in a factory, and therefore cannot be a bear. When he is taken to discuss the issue with the company president, a bear skin rug adorns the fancy office floor. I won't ruin the rest of it for you. I'll just say, Reading Rainbow style, if you want to know what happens next, you'll have to read this book! ----- 2012 Update: I ordered a copy from Amazon to give myself for Christmas and found the translation has been altered in two horrible ways. First, what was "lazybones" in my 1980s version is now the infinitely less pleasing "slacker." Also, THE LAST SENTENCE HAS BEEN ELIMINATED! The last page used to read, "And then he remembered." But no longer! Now the end feels so much more disturbing and death-like. Not to mention confusing. My mother used to shamelessly alter my children's books to be less sexist and I'd encourage all owners of this book to add in the last line by hand.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Mh Khosravi

    کتابی انسانی، که درگیرکننده است و احساسات متفاوتی را برمی‌انگیرد. بُعد انتقادی داستانش کاملاً به‌جا و دقیق است، و چه تصاویر خیال‌انگیزی... آن برف‌ها و خرسی که به دنبال خانه‌اش می‌گردد ...

  4. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    This one makes the top 5 list of Sarah's favorite children's books. The illustrations are bold and totally 70s, yet perfect and contemporary. Conversations revolving around self identity and external expectations could evolve after reading... This one makes the top 5 list of Sarah's favorite children's books. The illustrations are bold and totally 70s, yet perfect and contemporary. Conversations revolving around self identity and external expectations could evolve after reading...

  5. 5 out of 5

    رقیه خدابنده اویلی

    سعی کرد ماشین هایی راکه رد می شدند بشمارد ولی او در کارخانه فقط یاد گرفته بود تا پنج بشمارد ...

  6. 4 out of 5

    Bill

    Lovely--and clever. A rare combination.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Lau

    As a transgender person, finding this book at 24 was like finally finding what I needed as a kid. I'm gonna be okay. As a transgender person, finding this book at 24 was like finally finding what I needed as a kid. I'm gonna be okay.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Mehrnoush

    داره تجدید چاپ می‌شه و خوش‌حال باشششید.... همین روزها و توی سال ۱۴۰۰ وقتی این کتاب رو برای ویراستاری گرفتم، خیلی برام جالی بود که یک کتاب مصور برای گروه‌سنی دوازده سال به بالا چاپ شده! کتاب رو ورق زدم و توی بیست دقیقه خوردمش. واقعاً دوستش داشتم و دارم و پیشنهاد می‌کنم که بخونیدش... این کتاب رو برای چند بچه‌ی ده ساله هم خوندم و اون‌ها هم دوستش داشتند. خدا رو شکر برای وجود کانون پرورش فکری و کتاب‌های خفنی که چاپ می‌کنه

  9. 4 out of 5

    Megan

    This is one of the most upsetting children's books I've ever read, though it ends well. When a bear wakes up from hibernating, he finds himself in a factory that has been built over him while he was sleeping, and the factory bosses force him to work in the factory. It conveys an important message about worker alienation and environmental destruction, but damn. The illustrations are beautiful and heartbreaking. This is one of the most upsetting children's books I've ever read, though it ends well. When a bear wakes up from hibernating, he finds himself in a factory that has been built over him while he was sleeping, and the factory bosses force him to work in the factory. It conveys an important message about worker alienation and environmental destruction, but damn. The illustrations are beautiful and heartbreaking.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Negin mousavi

    i need to read more about this book!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jay Vee

    My kids and I were NOT ready for this one. Had a whole discussion on capitalism with my teen who had joined us for story time too.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Martine Rørstad

    Ein bjørn vaknar opp frå dvalen, og finn ein fabrikk utanfor hòla i staden for skog. Han blir tvinga til å jobbe på fabrikken, og til slutt går han ut i skogen att. Tysk barnebok frå 1976.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Neda

    A thought-provoking fiction...

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kathy

    This book was odd.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Mckinley

    Maybe for older kids?

  16. 5 out of 5

    Ebrahim

  17. 5 out of 5

    Ann

  18. 5 out of 5

    Dean Duncan

  19. 5 out of 5

    Tural

  20. 4 out of 5

    Rosesorkh

  21. 5 out of 5

    معصومه توکلی

  22. 5 out of 5

    Fahimeh Armin

  23. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl

  24. 5 out of 5

    Zahra tavakoli

  25. 5 out of 5

    Arash

  26. 4 out of 5

    Carolina Nilsson

  27. 4 out of 5

    Cherie

  28. 4 out of 5

    George

  29. 5 out of 5

    M. Jafarian

  30. 5 out of 5

    Laura

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