- Tak, B., & Hopman, P. (2011). Soldier bear. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans Books for Young Readers.
- Grade Level: 5-7 Genre: Historical Fiction
I actually really liked this book, and I am not one to like books related to war. When I began reading the book, I thought it was a made up story but after realizing it was based on a true story, I thought it would be awesome to bring to the classroom. The only personal connection I have with this book was my dad was in the Marine Corps so when I began to read about how “not scared” they were, it reminded me about my dad and the stories he would tell us. I would definitely use this book in my class because I feel the story is told in a manner that is both informative but entertaining. I would use this book as an outline to teach my students about World War II and use both events in history and book topics to come up with prompts for the students. I would also use this as a way to get my students to be more appreciative of people serving in the military and have everyone write a letter to a soldier overseas.
The setting takes place during the time of World War II in Iran, Egypt, Italy, and Scotland. The point of view is told in third person omniscient. The main theme of the book is seeing how the bear grows and changes throughout war and seeing how the soldiers around him act as well. I would think there are multiple mini plots throughout the book. Obviously, the main issue is surviving the war but many little plots include getting approval from sergeants to take the bear with them, dealing with the bear when he is scared, and having people trust that the bear is harmless.
Students will be able to compare and contrast events from the book to other events that happened in World War II.
- What are the Pros and Cons of bringing a wild animal to war?
- If you could choose any animal to bring to war with you, what would you bring and why?
- Did you like the ending? Why or why not? Would you have done the same thing? What would you have done differently?