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The Tale of Urso Brunov: Little Father of All Bears Hardcover – September 29, 2003

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Kindergarten-Grade 3-This long-winded faux folktale concerns "a tribe of bears called the Brunov" who are "only the size of your thumb!" One year, four little bears set out in search of sunshine and warmth instead of staying safely at home and sleeping through the winter. So, Urso Brunov, the "Little Father of All Bears," has to rescue them. His trip takes him from snowy woods to high mountains and dry deserts. He meets other animals (normal sized) and tricks, bullies, or cajoles them into helping him. Urso discovers the bears and many other animals trapped in a zoo. He rescues them all and leaves the guards and their leader imprisoned in the cages. Jacques's plot has a traditional folktale pattern and his choice of language and the frequent use of repetition (particularly the protagonist's admonition that others should "Believe me, for I am Urso Brunov!") enhance this feel. Urso is a typical folktale hero, plucky, brave, self-confident, and successful. Unfortunately, the very predictability of the story, along with its length, may make it difficult for the book to find an appreciative audience. Children young enough to enjoy Natchev's richly colored and beautifully composed paintings may find it hard to sit through the lengthy text, while older fans of the author's work will likely be disappointed by the slim story.
Lisa Dennis, The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, PA
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Gr. 2-4, younger for reading aloud. Urso, Little Father of All Brunov Bears, is the mightiest, wisest, and strongest of any living creature, even though he's no bigger than a thumb. He proves his mettle when he must retrieve four little bears who escape hibernation and are kidnapped and taken to a desert zoo by the Lord of All Sands. Jacques displays his usual flare for animal characters and clever details in this nicely packaged original folktale, with richly hued artwork that enlivens the story. Although several of the pictures don't quite match the accompanying text (Urso's "fine red coat" appears to be a yellow shirt on the opening spread), children may overlook the discrepancies in the face of Urso's delightful ingenuity, as when he uses a goose feather and a flute to make a sailboat. Adding to the charm is the small circle in the upper right corner of each spread, which becomes part of a flipbook of Urso dancing. A colorful initiation to Jacques' animal-fantasy magic. Julie Cummins
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Hardcover: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Philomel (September 29, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399237623
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399237621
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 0.5 x 11.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,591,289 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

A well-known radio personality in his native Liverpool--as well as an actor, stand-up comic, and playwright--Brian Jacques (1939-2011) was the host of "Jakestown" on BBC Radio Merseyside. Ever the performer, Jacques was well-known for applying his acting and entertainment background to his lively presentations to legions of young fans at schools across the United States and England. Brian Jacques was born in Liverpool, England on June 15th, 1939. Along with forty percent of the population of Liverpool, his ancestral roots are in Ireland, County Cork to be exact. He grew up in the area around the Liverpool docks. His interest in adventure stories began at an early age with reading the books of: Daniel Defoe, Sir Henry Rider Haggard, Arthur Conan Doyle, Sir Thomas Malory, Robert Michael Ballantyne, Robert Louis Stevenson, Edgar Rice Burroughs, and Kenneth Grahame. He attended St. John's School, an inner city school that had its playground on the roof. On his first day at St. John's, at the age of ten, he had an experience that marked his potential as a writer. When given an assignment of writing a story about animals, he wrote about the bird that cleaned a crocodile's teeth. The teacher could not, and would not, believe that a ten year old could write that well. When young Brian refused to falsely say that he had copied the story, he was caned as "a liar". He had always loved to write, but it was only then, that he realized that he had a talent for writing. "My favourite teacher was Mr. Austin Thomas. He looked like Lee Marvin. Big Man. A Captain in World War II. He came to school on a big bush bike with the haversack on back. He was a man's man. Always fair. I was fourteen at the time when Mr. Thomas introduced the class to poetry and Greek literature. (Because of him, I saved seven shillings and sixpence to buy The Iliad and The Odyssey at this dusty used book shop.)" This interest in poetry extended to Wordsworth, Tennyson, and Goldsmith. It was also at St. John's that Brian met a teacher, Alan Durband (who also taught two Beatles, Paul McCartney and George Harrison), who, more than thirty years later would bring about a major change in his life. After Brian finished school at fifteen, he set out to find adventure as a merchant seaman. He travelled to many far away ports, including New York, Valparaiso, San Francisco, and Yokohama. Tiring of the lonely life of a sailor, he returned to Liverpool where he worked as a railway fireman, a longshoreman, a long-distance truck driver, a bus driver, a boxer, a bobby (Police Constable 216D), a postmaster, and a stand-up comic. Jacques passed away in February of 2011 at the age of 71.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Janet Jakupcak on November 21, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is so inventive! It tells a tale that sounds very old but is in fact very new. It is wonderfully told. Children (and those of us who still have a child inside) will enjoy this book very much.
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By Rita Paolillo on April 21, 2015
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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2 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Lord Brocktree on June 15, 2004
Format: Hardcover
It's similar to redwall series, but for smaller audiences. Great read. Highly recommended for bored redwall fans.
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