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Sugar & Clive and the Circus Bear (Dogwood Island Middle Grade Animal Adventure Series Book 1) Kindle Edition
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Sugar is an energetic, caramel colored dog who lives a carefree life with her mistress Marion on Dogwood Island. Sugar has a somewhat unusual best friend, a barn swallow named Clive who lives on the farm with her. One day, while traipsing through the island, Clive urges Sugar to come to the library to see a strange site, a bear in a cage in the town square, who apparently has been abandoned on the island. The two friends strike up a conversation with the bear named Sebastian.
Soon it becomes apparent that the circus has closed up shop and Sebastian has been left in his cage to fend for himself. The townspeople decide it would be best to place the bear in a zoo, but Sugar and Clive feel that they would like to help Sebastian find his freedom At first the bear is reluctant, but after his brief separation from the circus, he decides they are right.
Clive and Sugar enlist island animal friends like Larry the Seagull, AnnMay, a Siamese cat, and a human friend, Stewart, to find a way to move the 500 pound bear off the island into a forested area where he could roam free. But the zookeepers are fast approaching, will they be able to carry out their daring plan?
I love the dialogue and clever conversations among the animals, and the ingenious solutions they come up to solve one problem after another. At just over one hundred pages this chapter book is just the right length to hold the interest of young readers and middle grade students with enough interesting plot twists and suspense. This book would be an excellent choice for a class read aloud and discussion book. Young animal and adventure lovers will not be able to put this one down.
Sebastian, a bear, belongs to the circus troupe The Tremendous Traveling Tanzinis or at least he used to. As details emerge it appears that Sebastian has been abandoned by the circus! Upon seeing Sugar, Sebastian is surprised that Sugar is not in a cage or on a leash. (Sugar is allowed to roam the island at leisure.)
The villagers vote to send Sebastian to the Calgary zoo. The more Sugar thinks on this, the more she wants Sebastian to have his freedom so wants to ferry him off the island to someplace wild. When Clive and her return to visit with Sebastian they discover he has gone along with his cage? Where is he? The two friends split up to search for him. Clive talks with Elmore the crow who is not friendly and Clive picks up the phrase "Dang it!" A black squirrel named Eddie keeps repeating the words "Noisy lake! Noisy Monsters!" What does this mean? Is it a clue?
Does Sebastian even want his freedom? He has been in captivity since being orphaned as a young cub. Can Larry, the seagull, secure a boat? The last three chapters are full of suspense and our children would not let me put the book down at this point until we had finished it which was fine by me, as I wanted to know how it ended also! The epilogue sums it all up and the gives the reader the final update.
The characters in this book all have different personalities and idiosyncrasies creating a very interesting story for children. However the book could use some additional editing. The biggest 'problem' is run on sentences where periods should have been used, not commas. An example is:
"I guess..... I just...." he struggled to find the words and then they burst out of him like a gust of November wind, "the last time I was free it was scary!" This should read "I guess.... I just..." He struggled to find the words and then they burst out of him like a gust of November wind. "The last time I was free it was scary!"
But then Sebastian said something that helped her to understand, "The circus people became my family." In this situation there should be a period after the word 'understand'.
A big "oops" occurs when Larry is speaking:
"..... I had orchestrated....." Sugar and Clive raised their eyes at this exaggeration, ".....and that the new...." There should be a period at the end of exaggeration.
I decided to still give the book 4* as it really is a great story and some folks may not even notice the errors.