From School Library Journal
Gr 1-4-After her first encounter with the horrific practice of bear farming in China, Robinson made it her life's work to rescue and rehabilitate as many of these abused animals as possible. She has also worked to end the cruel practice of bile extraction. Jasper's Story tells of one moon bear and how he came to symbolize the forgiveness and trust that come with love. He had been held in a tiny cage where he could neither sit nor move nor lie down for more than 10 years. At the time of his rescue, he was both physically and emotionally battered, but through the gentle care of Robinson and her helpers, he can play and interact with other bears and humans, and seems to have forgiven the cruelties that were once inflicted upon him. He sets a courageous example for both his bear companions and for his human advocates. And through the work of Robinson, bile farming is a waning practice in Asia. Poetic language and soft-toned realistic watercolor illustrations offer a story of courage and hope. Useful as a read aloud in conjunction with animal welfare and nature studies.-Eva Elisabeth VonAncken, formerly at Trinity-Pawling School, Pawling, NYα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Get ready to wipe away a few tears after reading this. Robinson has dedicated her life to rescuing the bears of China that have been abused by those extracting bear bile for use in traditional Asian medicines. Jasper is one of them, a moon bear, held in a tiny cage for 15 years before arriving at Robinson’s center in China, called Animals Asia. At first, he is wary, even violent, but as Robinson and her team methodically integrate him into the community, Jasper becomes the poster bear for all that can be accomplished. Eventually, he’s an ambassador to newcomer bears, touching and patting them to make them feel more comfortable. The text is a bit overwritten in the beginning, but as the book follows Jasper’s progress, it settles down to a moving narrative. The sturdy acrylic illustrations are derived from van Frankenhuyzen’s photographs taken at the sanctuary, and their tracking of Jasper’s journey to wellness captures both the effort and emotion. A final two-page-spread afterword tells more about Robinson and her work. Grades 2-5. --Ilene Cooper