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Nikolai, the Only Bear

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3.78  ·  Rating Details ·  49 Ratings  ·  9 Reviews
There are one hundred orphans at the Russian orphanage, but Nikolai is the only bear. He growls when he speaks and claws the air when he plays. "Play nice, Nikolai," the keepers say. No one wants to take Nikolai home. Until one day, when a fur-faced man and a smooth-faced woman come to visit from America. They growl with him and play with him, and sing songs that make him ...more
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published March 17th 2005 by Philomel
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Kathryn
Dec 21, 2012 Kathryn rated it really liked it
I chose this because I love Liwska's illustrations from The Quiet Book series. This is an earlier title and the style is not the same, but I still enjoyed it. The story itself is an interesting one that will probably appeal especially to a select audience.

Nikolai is the only bear at an orphanage of children. Though everyone means well, Nikolai often feels misunderstood. Until one day a couple from America arrives and Nikolai finally feels he may have found kindred spirits who appreciate him as
...more
Beth
Oct 31, 2012 Beth rated it it was amazing
An absolutely beautiful story with equally stunning illustrations about the only bear in an orphanage in Russia. As you continue reading this unusual little story, the way Renata Liwska illustrates Nikolai in such a human way despite the fact that he's a bear, makes you realize that Nikolai isn't really a bear at all and this is a story about a real boy looking for a real family. It is both heartbreaking, gentle, and joyous at the same time.
Liz
Sep 07, 2016 Liz rated it it was ok
Probably would not make a good storytime book, but it might be useful for parents trying to explain the concept of adoption and are okay with the tone being a little dark.
Karen
Feb 19, 2015 Karen rated it liked it
I get where the author was going with this book, but it still felt like she was rather heavy-handed with the telling of the story: An adoption story from Russia. With a bear. Really?

The illustrations, however, are absolutely delightful and almost make me forgive the heavy-handedness of the text.
Jack
Jan 02, 2016 Jack rated it really liked it
Shelves: k-g-4
"Charmingly illustrated by newcomer Renata Liwska, this is an adoption fable that any child who's ever felt like an outsider will easily relate to."
This is a sweet story of cross-cultural adoption.
Age Range: 3 - 8 years
Grade Level: Preschool - 3
Magila
Jun 29, 2013 Magila rated it really liked it
3.5

Nice message. Good art. Not particularly remarkable, but because of the original content I gave it the bump up.

Borrow it from the library.
Kristina Silverbears
Aug 05, 2014 Kristina Silverbears rated it really liked it
Shelves: babies
This book may assist in teaching adoption to a child. Perhaps not recommended for very young children, though the illustrations are very good.
Rani
Nikolai the bear finds a home.
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1817938
Barbara Joosse has written many books for children. Among them are Mama, Do You Love Me?, illustrated by Barbara Lavallee; and I Love You the Purplest, illustrated by Mary Whyte. She says, "When I was a little girl, I wished for two things — a best friend, and something so ferocious it would scare away the monsters under my bed. And so I have written Lovabye Dragon. I think maybe it’s for little m ...more
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