Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Soldier Bear” as Want to Read:
Soldier Bear
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Soldier Bear

3.9  ·  Rating details ·  426 Ratings  ·  159 Reviews
Winner of the 2012 Batchelder Award

Based on a real series of events that happened during World War II, Soldier Bear tells the story of an orphaned bear cub adopted by a group of Polish soldiers in Iran. The soldiers raise the bear and eventually enlist him as a soldier to ensure that he stays with the company. He travels with them from Iran to Italy, and then on to Scotl
Hardcover, 158 pages
Published August 22nd 2011 by Eerdmans Books for Young Readers (first published 2008)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Soldier Bear, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Soldier Bear

Community Reviews

(showing 1-10)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Jan 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ncbla, animals, war
Many writers have made it clear just how hellish war is, and how hard it is to hold onto the shreds of humanity that exist in the hearts of soldiers during conflict. Based on actual events that occurred during WWII, this story describes how a group of Polish soldiers stationed in Iran adopt a Syrian brown bear cub who becomes the mascot and symbol of the transport company of the 2nd Polish Corps. As the cub grows to become more than six feet tall, he and the other animals that accompany the troo ...more
Nov 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
What an amazing true story! And you just couldn’t ask for a better read-aloud book to share with your 3rd or 4th grader who is ready for that transition to stories with a little difficult material. Mostly, this book is pure fun. But one chapter (ch. 14) addresses--very tactfully and responsibly--the realities of war. Another (ch. 19) deals with the sad fate of one of the book’s four animal characters. My daughter went from sheer delight, to convincing herself not to cry, and then to declaring th ...more
Jan 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: international
I found this book through the ALSC Website. This book was the 2012 winner of the Batchelder Award. The story takes place during World War II and is about a group of Polish soldiers who decide to take in a Syrian brown bear cub they find in Iran. The bear soon becomes a mascot for the company and helps the soldiers keep their minds off of the war taking place around them. Voytek, as they name him, is always getting into trouble but serves as entertainment for the soldiers. He is then enlisted as ...more
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
I really enjoyed this unusual novel, though it hardly seemed like a children's book, as the characters were all Polish soldiers and animals. Translated from the Dutch, this story based on true events is about a group of Polish soldiers captured by the Russians in World War II and sent to join the British in Iran. While in the desert one day, the group encounters a young boy with a baby bear in a sack, which they obtain by trading food for the bear. They keep it as a pet and mascot, and the bear ...more
Margo Tanenbaum
Nov 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: animals, ww2
n this charming novel for children, Dutch author Bibi Dumon Tak fictionalizes the true story of an orphaned Syrian brown bear cub who's adopted by a group of Polish soldiers during World War II, eventually becoming the unit's beloved mascot. The mischievous bear cub was named Voytek (smiling warrior) by the soldiers. As the soldiers journeyed through Iran and Iraq on their way to their assignment in Palestine to join their Brtish allies, even the officers softened at the adorable teddy bear of a ...more
Dec 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
Based on real events is this imagined account of a bear that accompanied five Polish soldiers who traveled from their beloved Poland to the British Isles then to the middle east, where they found a bear cub in the middle of a desert, finally to Italy, then to Scotland, and home. The adventures also involve two dogs and a monkey-a total menagerie that traveled with these men. In the earlier parts of the story, they had to gain permission to keep the animals, but soon, they endeared themselves to ...more
Voytek is the kind of pet any child would love to imagine. He is so much more delightful because this is based on a true story --he really was a member of an allied military division and he truly made the war more "bearable," even enjoyable for the soldiers who befriended him and all others who encountered him. This book evokes a lot more laughter than tears. It also includes interesting historical context, including maps of WWII regions and a simple, "kid-speak" version of Poland's unique predi ...more
Kimberly Wees
Audience: 4th to 8th grade students study WWII history.

Appeal: This is a great and easy read for students interested in WWII. The story is about a bear who gets bought and is used for work. There is talk about the history of WWII but not in too much detail that it's overbearing. It focuses more on the importance of having a friend and companion in times of trouble and strife. It talks about getting through things together and that having somebody with you is all you need in life.

Batchelder Awa
Aug 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Thank goodness for the Batchelder Award, without which I probably would have never heard of this book, much less picked it up. This is a fabulous story, and based on the true story of the bear who was enlisted in the Polish army. I thought it showed how hard war can be but how something to care for and love (the adorable and rambunctious bear) helped these soldiers make it from day to day. It is a beautiful story.
Aug 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: j-fic, historical-fic
Soldier Bear does what the Voytek does for the soldiers - lightens, appropriately, a hard time in our history. The voice of the story is slightly younger than the story itself perhaps, but I thoroughly enjoyed the book and will recommend it for purchase for our library. It also provides a non-American, tho pro-American, look at WWII balancing the harshness of war with the lightness of a bear's unusual role in wartime.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Mister Orange
  • The Lily Pond (A Faraway Island #2)
  • Never Forgotten
  • Diego Rivera: His World and Ours
  • America Is Under Attack: September 11, 2001: The Day the Towers Fell
  • A Time of Miracles
  • See Me Run
  • The Elephant Scientist (Scientist in the Field Series)
  • Underground: Finding the Light to Freedom
  • Kakapo Rescue: Saving the World's Strangest Parrot
  • Hiroshima No Pika
  • The Unforgotten Coat
  • Maximilian & the Mystery of the Guardian Angel: A Bilingual Lucha Libre Thriller
  • Hurricane Dancers: The First Caribbean Pirate Shipwreck
  • The Book Itch: Freedom, Truth & Harlem's Greatest Bookstore
  • Music Was IT: Young Leonard Bernstein
  • The Shadows of Ghadames
  • The Children of the King

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »