Soldier Bear

by Bibi Dumon Tak and Philip Hopman

During World War II, a Polish supply unit serving in Iran encountered a young boy... read more

During World War II, a Polish supply unit serving in Iran encountered a young boy who asked if they would trade food and money for what he was carrying in a squirming burlap bag. They opened the bag to reveal a bear cub, and the soldiers readily agreed to the trade. They named the little bear Voytek and took him into their unit as a mascot. Voytek traveled with them everywhere they went, quickly winning over even the most hardened officers with his amusing antics. He was even officially sworn into the Polish Army as a private. As he grew, the bear not only entertained the soldiers by getting into mischief, he also lifted their spirits and raised morale in the midst of war’s harsh realities. With a pitch-perfect storytelling voice, this short, poignant novel remarkably recreates a time and a place, and is all the more unusual because it’s based on something that actually happened. Black-and-white photographs accompany an author’s note at the end, showing us the real Voytek and some of the men with whom he served. (Ages 7–10)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2012

show less