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The Bears of Blue River Paperback – May 20, 2011

4.4 out of 5 stars 89 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Away back in the 'twenties', when Indiana was a baby state, and great forests of tall trees and tangled underbrush darkened what are now her bright plains and sunny hills, there stood upon the east bank of Big Blue River, a mile or two north of the point where that stream crosses the Michigan road, a cozy log cabin of two rooms-one front and one back. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Charles Major (1856-1913) was an American lawyer and novelist. Born to an upper-middle class Indianapolis family, Major developed in interest in both law and English history at an early age and attended the University of Michigan from 1872 through 1875, being admitted to the Indiana bar association in 1877. Shortly thereafter he opened his own law practice, which launched a short political career, culminating in a year-long term in the Indiana state legislature. Writing remained an interest of Major, and in 1898, he published his first novel, When Knighthood Was in Flower. The novel about England during the reign of King Henry VIII was an exhaustively researched historical romance, and became enormously popular, holding a place on the New York Times bestselling list for nearly three years. Major continued to write and publish several additional novels, to varying degrees of success, as well as a number of children's adventure stories, most set in and around his native state of Indiana.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 9 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 4 - 7
  • Paperback: 108 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (May 20, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1463545614
  • ISBN-13: 978-1463545611
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.2 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (89 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,894,010 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
The book "The Bears of Blue River" was a very interesting book for me to read. The content of the book was very simple and quite easy to follow. Children of all ages, along with adults, will find this book hard to put down after they start to read it. This story takes place in Shelby County. One of the main reasons I chose to read this book was because I live in Shelby County.
My grandmother read this book to me when I was in pre-school. I have always remembered about how Balsar, the main character in the book, loved his gun and the outdoors. In this book it talks about how there is a "blowout hole" where the Conns Creek and the Flatrock River flow together. We (Hinkles, my family) actually own property that is on the banks next to the blowout hole. So this was very interesting for me. I too have also explored the many little caves and such that are on the Flatrock River.
I believe this is a wonderful book that boys and girls, even men and women, will be able to enjoy very much. The book has absolutely amazing descriptions of various places in Shelby County. I have found these descriptions to be very accurate, as I have hiked, camped, fished, or hunted on the exact same land the author, Charles Major, described so very well.
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Format: Hardcover
In 2001 my father age 82 mentioned this book as the only one he remembered his father reading to him as a young boy. I'm his son at age 59 and decided to get a library copy for us to read again. Dad doesn't read much anymore but he devoured the book which brought good memories back. I liked it as well because it gave me a family "connection" over 3 generations, and the book is also easy to read and good reading to boot. Our ancestors settled in Indiana in the 1830's and they lived next to the Flatrock River(in the book)Had to buy a copy for family keepsake
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Format: Hardcover
Growing up in the small town of Shelbyville, IN, The Bears of Blue River is a must read book. Everyday in the town of Shelbyville, one can be reminded of little Balsar and his adventures. Located around the circle in Shelbyville, stands a statue of Balsar holding the two bear cubs, Tom and Jerry. The statue is part of the history behind Shelbyville.
The Bears of Blue River brings back many wonderful childhood memories. After recess everyday in the fourth grade, my class would gather in the front of the room to hear what exciting adventures were in store for Balsar. The Bears of Blue River puts youngsters on the edge of their seat. I know that I could not wait to see what dangers Balsar would overcome next; I believe this is why I love the book. The pages of this book cannot be turned fast enough. The Bears of Blue River was the book that opened my eyes to the wonderful world of reading. Children are not the only ones who love to read the book, adults enjoy the book as well.
The book depicts what real life was like back in the twenties, something no reality show can duplicate. Harsh winters and fierce animals were only a part of what the Brent family had to encounter, sometimes on a daily basis. The book allows children to relive the life of Balsar and his friends. I think the book could really give children a deeper appreciation of today's way of living.
I am a first year college student, who still to this day thinks that The Bears of Blue River is the most fun and action packed book one can buy. Children and adults of all ages are sure to fall in love with the brave little Balsar and all of his friends.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The story starts innocently enough. Young Balser Brent and his family moved from North Carolina to the banks of the Blue River when he was five or six and his father received eighty acres, at the huge sum of one dollar an acre, in a deed from President James Monroe, no less.

At the time of the story, Balser is thirteen or fourteen, with a nine-year-old brother and a one-year-old sister. During a trip to the "drift" to catch a mass of fish (yes, the book says, mass, although I wonder if it's one of many typos in the version I downloaded), the trouble begins with Balser's first bear encounter. Bam! One bear down, a couple dozen to go, I reckon.

Before you think I'm a squeamish, gun-hating, Peta-lover, I do understand, especially in the 1800s, that killing was a necessary way of life, for food, clothing, and protection. In most cases, Balser and his friends did just that. From the legendary fire bear, who blazed up when he was angry, to deer, wolves, fox, and beaver, no animal was sacred, or without purpose.

I was, however troubled when a male wolf, looking after two cubs was killed, and then the mother was, subsequently lured out of the den, and shot, too. The only reason I could find for killing the pair was the boys wanted the cubs as pets. During another gruesome scene, one of Balsers friends is burned alive, along with the fire bear mentioned above. The final killing scenes includes a fawn and its mother. The fawn is shot in order to lure the mother to its side. Bam! Another one bites the dust. The coup de grâce, an especially brutal fox-trapping scene, which I won't describe, ends the book on a sickening note, at least for this reader.

I'd recommend The Bears of Blue River, for sixth grade and beyond, and only then if the reader is comfortable with killing, and the raw brutality of living in the wilds of a Southern Indiana woods.

Mary Cunningham, author, Cynthia's Attic Series
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