The book is in two parts. The first, entitled "Bears in Their World," covers such topics as evolution, names and taxonomy, disposition, and personality. The second part covers a vast array of topics under the title "Bears in the Human World," including bears in religion and in the entertainment world, hunting, eating bear meat, human injuries and fatalities, and the future of bears. Throughout the book more than 300 black-and-white photographs are appropriately placed; there are also two inserts of color photographs. The sources of information in tables is usually cited. Also, there are occasional bibliographies within the text (e.g., "Important Contributions to Bear Literature").
The almanac has three appendixes. The first lists stratigraphic periods, the second includes excerpts from two treaties (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources) and the third lists 33 "Organizations Involved in the Preservation, Research, and Management of Bears," with mailing addresses and a short annotation giving the emphasis of each organization. This is followed by a glossary listing 35 terms with one-sentence definitions. The bibliography lists a total of 217 books and articles in full bibliographic format. The work concludes with an index.
The Great Bear Almanac is unique in its almanac format and coverage. For example, the excellent book, Bears of the World by Domico (Facts On File, 1988), covers such subjects as bear physiology, social behavior, habitats, and distribution patterns in a manner similar to the book under review, but only The Great Bear Almanac lists endangered bears by state and covers such topics as bears in art and Sherlock Holmes and bears. The Great Bear Almanac is a unique publication that should be considered for purchase by public, middle, and high school libraries and interested academic institutions. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.