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.
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 CumminsCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved