Monday, February 04, 2019

Journey of the Pale Bear

Journey of the Pale Bear. Susan Fletcher. 2018. 304 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: In the evening, as darkness falls, I return to the fortress.

Premise/plot: This middle grade historical novel is the story of a boy and a bear. The novel is set in the thirteenth century--the setting is first Norway, then the sea, and finally England. The King of Norway is giving a polar bear--a 'pale bear'--to the King of England (Henry III) as a gift. But the bear needs a handler or keeper to get him there safely. Arthur, our young, desperate hero, seems an unlikely choice. But it turns out that he has a way with the bear--a way that the adults don't seem to have. His job--if he accepts it--will be to keep the bear calmed down and willing to eat. In return he'll receive passage to Wales after the bear is delivered safely. Wales is where his father's family is from originally.

This historical coming-of-age novel is packed with action, adventure, and drama.

My thoughts: I really enjoyed this one so much. I'm not sure at this point if it's "really, really like" or love. But I do know that I was so captivated by this story that I could not put the book down. I read it in one sitting. I liked the setting. I liked the characters. I liked the relationships. I liked the story--it is based loosely on a true story. The King of Norway did give the King Henry III a polar bear for his menagerie. The bear did go for a daily swim every day in the river Thames.

© 2019 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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