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The Resource Soldier bear, written by Bibi Dumon Tak ; illustrated by Philip Hopman ; translated by Laura Watkinson

Soldier bear, written by Bibi Dumon Tak ; illustrated by Philip Hopman ; translated by Laura Watkinson

Label
Soldier bear
Title
Soldier bear
Statement of responsibility
written by Bibi Dumon Tak ; illustrated by Philip Hopman ; translated by Laura Watkinson
Creator
Contributor
Illustrator
Subject
Genre
Language
  • eng
  • dut
  • eng
Summary
An orphaned Syrian brown bear cub is adopted by Polish soldiers during World War II and serves for five years as their mischievous mascot in Iran and Italy. Based on a true story
Member of
Award
  • ALA Notable Children's Book, 2012
  • Mildred L. Batchelder Award, 2012.
  • USBBY Outstanding International Book, 2012.
Review
  • Grades 4-8 Based on a true story, Tak’s warm, frank, funny novel follows a cadre of Polish soldiers and an adopted bear from Italy to Iran and back again. Along the way, it exposes a little known facet of WWII and shines a light on a bit of irreverent resilience that blossomed in its shadow. Four friends find the bear as a cub, christen him Voytek, and enroll him as a bona fide soldier in the Polish army. While part of the service, Voytek turns heads, wreaks havoc, boosts morale, and performs his official soldierly duties, including moving live ammunition. In clear, straightforward prose (as translated by Laura Watkinson), Tak offers an engaging story of grown-up protagonists and situations, focusing on Voytek’s exploits and his interactions with a menagerie of other animals. Hopman’s expressive grease-pencil illustrations add to the story’s accessibility, grounding the proceedings with charm. An afterword featuring archival photographs of the real Voytek closes this uplifting, welcome addition to WWII studies. -- Barthelmess, Thom (Reviewed 10-15-2011) (Booklist, vol 108, number 4, p49)
  • Gr 4 – 6 — Inspired by true events during World War II, Tak tells the story of a bear who served in the Polish army. Despite its serious setting, most of the novel is lighthearted. Voytek is found by soldiers when he is a cub and is officially enlisted as a private, serving as an ammunition carrier and mascot for five years. His innocence and shenanigans bring about an incredible sense of humanity in the soldiers and everyone they meet, causing otherwise gruff, stoic figures to smile and joke. Voytek and the other animals that the company picks up along the way cheer the soldiers up and help them get through the difficulties of war. However, the hardships are mostly discussed in terms of missing friends and family and being far away from home. In one small section of a chapter, a soldier witnesses the deaths of two others and is grief stricken. This is followed by a touching encounter that is shared with the other soldiers, as well as Voytek, which for children will probably be more meaningful than a series of gruesome and abstract battles. In this way, the story is thought-provoking, but not overwhelming. The unit is stationed in the Middle East, transporting supplies and soldiers, so it's a rather different perspective of World War II than most readers are used to. Black-and-white drawings appear throughout the book, which closes with photographs of the real Voytek and his friends. Kids are sure to fall in love with this bear while being gently introduced to war and being touched by the message of peace.—Kerry Roeder, Corlears School, New York City --Kerry Roeder (Reviewed November 1, 2011) (School Library Journal, vol 57, issue 11, p140)
  • A bear cub purchased by a pair of Polish free soldiers in the Iranian desert in 1942 becomes a private in the Polish army, a member of the 22nd Transport Company and an active participant in the war in Italy. Tak bases her novel on actual facts: Wojtek (spelled phonetically as Voytek in Watkinson's translation) was a real Syrian brown bear, really in the Polish Army and really the artillery-carrying subject of his company's emblem. But her humans are fictional characters, a group of five soldiers including Peter, the bear cub's new "mother," Stanislav, who purchases him and figures out how to feed him, and Lolek, who adopts the monkey who eventually becomes his friend. The narrative focuses on the bear's antics, which both enliven the soldiers' lives and cause them difficulty. Originally published in Holland in 2009 as Soldaat Wojtek, this is smoothly translated and engagingly illustrated with sketches and helpful maps. Funny, fresh and heartwarming, it doesn't ignore the horrors of war but concentrates on the joy of having an animal friend, albeit a difficult one. Readers of any age do not need to know anything about the complicated history of the Polish free forces or even World War II to enjoy this tale of "a friend and a mascot who made the war easier to bear." (Historical fiction. 9 & up) (Kirkus Reviews, August 15, 2011)
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
10018586
Cataloging source
DLC
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Dumon Tak, Bibi
Dewey number
[Fic]
Illustrations
  • illustrations
  • maps
Index
no index present
Intended audience
780L
Intended audience source
Lexile
Interest level
MG
LC call number
PZ7.D893635
LC item number
Sol 2011
Literary form
fiction
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/minGradeLevel
  • 4
  • 6
Reading level
5.2
http://library.link/vocab/relatedWorkOrContributorName
Hopman, Philip
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
Study program name
Accelerated Reader AR
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • World War, 1939-1945
  • Brown bear
  • Bears
  • Soldiers
  • Mascots
  • World War, 1939-1945
  • Brown bear
  • Bears
  • Soldiers
  • Mascots
  • Poland
  • Iran
  • Italy
  • Poland
  • Iran
  • Italy
Target audience
pre adolescent
Label
Soldier bear, written by Bibi Dumon Tak ; illustrated by Philip Hopman ; translated by Laura Watkinson
Instantiates
Publication
Note
Originally published: Soldaat wojtek. Amsterdam : Querido, c2008
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
850991
Dimensions
23 cm
Extent
145 pages
Isbn
9780802853752
Lccn
2011013963
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
Other physical details
illustrations, maps
System control number
(Sirsi) i9780802853752
Label
Soldier bear, written by Bibi Dumon Tak ; illustrated by Philip Hopman ; translated by Laura Watkinson
Publication
Note
Originally published: Soldaat wojtek. Amsterdam : Querido, c2008
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
850991
Dimensions
23 cm
Extent
145 pages
Isbn
9780802853752
Lccn
2011013963
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
Other physical details
illustrations, maps
System control number
(Sirsi) i9780802853752

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