Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Review of the book "Dancing Bear"

Written by Manasi Subramaniam
Art by Gwangjo and Jung-a Park

This post is written for

The ‘Dancing Bear’ book begins with Altaf's birthday, the central character of this story. Every child would love to get a teddy bear, but Altaf gets a real bear, a living one and what’s more, a dancing bear. Altaf is thrilled with his gift and feels very proud that now he can follow his father's footsteps of being a good entertainer at the Mughal Kings' Court.

He tries to make his bear friend Somu dance by tugging at the rope around its nose and is shocked to see Somu hurt and bleeding. He is pained and goes to his father to seek help to heal the bear's wounds. He is disappointed with his father's apathy. Meanwhile he meets his uncle, Bhavik Chacha who tells him that being nice to the bear will only make him lazier. He teaches him that by only tugging at the rope will Somu ever dance.

Altaf tries to follow his uncle's teachings but feels guilty about the way he is treating Somu. From this point the story takes a sensitive turn. Altaf gets to know that his conscience was true in its indication and he had not felt guilty without a reason. The book captures the feelings of Altaf very beautifully. He not only rescues his bear friend Somu, but moves on to become a bear rescuer and sees the ‘Dancing bear’, the way he wanted to see it.

The book is simple and lucid and can be easily read by young readers. The paintings capture the various moods of the story. The emotions in the paintings are admirable, where we can sense and feel the joy and pain of Altaf and Somu. The title says ‘Dancing bear’ but the painting shows a bear in distress. This contradiction draws the reader to this book. This book is good to teach young children to respect animals and to instill the sense of freedom for every living being. A commendable book for kid’s!


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