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The Dancing Bear

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  936 Ratings  ·  79 Reviews
A gentle and deeply moving story of a young girl and her bear, told with great charm by a master storyteller.High in the mountains, in a tiny village, an abandoned bear cub is adopted by a lonely orphan child. Soon they are inseparable, beloved by the whole village – safe, until the arrival of a glamorous film crew who need a dancing bear…
ebook, 64 pages
Published June 3rd 2010 by HarperCollins Publishers (first published January 1st 1994)
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Noah Basically a girl called Roxanne finds a bear and looks after it while she's living with her mean grandfather. The two are nearly always together and…moreBasically a girl called Roxanne finds a bear and looks after it while she's living with her mean grandfather. The two are nearly always together and after a few years, a film crew comes to Roxanne's small village and make a music video for the famous singer Nikki. But, Nikki wants a dancing bear and Bruno*the bear* won't dance unless Roxanne sings to him, and Roxanne ends up singing and the video is made. After that Nikki persuades Roxanne to travel all over the world and make herself a singing career with him. She ends up agreeing and leaving Bruno with her school teacher to look after him. But she promised Bruno she would come back and visit very often. Turns out after she leaves Bruno doesn't move at all, not even when the school teacher goes into his cage to feed him, so basically the teacher finds out Bruno is dead and Roxanne didn't keep her promise. THE END :)(less)
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Feb 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I fancied something light to read last night, and as I love animals, I decided to select a paperback from one of my two Michael Morpurgo box sets.

This was a touching and emotional story about a little girl who rescues a malnourished bear cub and brings it into her village, where it becomes a large part of their close-knit community.

At times this story was a fun read, but it turned out not to be quite as light-hearted as I had hoped, resulting in tears and me feeling a little heart broken at on
Charlotte Jones
This is my first Michael Morpurgo book and to be honest I only listened to this one because it was narrated by Ian McKellen.

The narration was really relaxing to listen to though the story itself was quite sombre. My main issue with this book is the ending. I feel that the author wanted to make it sad so made something happen really abruptly but I felt that it didn't have the emotional impact that it should have had.

I think that Morpurgo is an interesting author and I will be checking out more of
I read this book with my year 5 class in SEB, and before I read it I was told it was a great read. I gave this book only 3 stars as it started off as a great read but was disappointed with the ending of the story, however, the children I read it with enjoyed the book. This book is about a little girl who finds a small bear cub and convinces the whole town and her grandad to let her keep it. A famous film crew comes into town and decides to use the bear in one of their songs. The book is great fo ...more
Bobbie Jo
‘The Dancing Bear’ is a short story about an elderly teacher, who watches a young girl adopt a bear cub into her family and build a beautiful friendship with it as they grow up together. Roxanne, the young girl, fights to keep her bear living in their country town as he grows larger. As she ages into a woman, Roxanne visits her bear less and less, he becomes desolate and less responsive in her absence. A film crew then arrives, wishing to use the town and the bear in their music video. The quiet ...more
Aug 22, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pre-teen
This was actually the first book I ever read of Michael Morpurgo's and honestly it is so sad. I don't know how I can remember the plot because it was like 6 years ago when I first read this but I remember it being so sad and I think I loved the bear because obviously its a bear and bears are so cute. I think it is horrible that some bears are in captivity and are being forced to dance. In my opinion I think that animals should have rights too, so this made me think more about what people are doi ...more
Megan Wiffen
Aug 28, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Dancing Bear is a moving story set in an old fashioned village in the mountains; it follows a young orphan girl, Roxanne. One day Roxanne finds a bear, she names him Bruno and with support from some of the fellow villagers she keeps him. They become best friends and their relationship becomes special and enchanting. When word spreads of Bruno, a film crew arrive to make a music video for a famous rock singer, Niki. Niki talks Roxanne into getting Bruno to dance for his video and Bruno does. ...more
The Dancing Bear by Michael Morpurgo, tells the delicate story of an orphan called Roxanne who adopts an abandoned bear cub. The story is told from the perspective of Roxanne’s school teacher. The book is set in an isolated, mountainous village. The whole village allows Roxanne to adopt the bear, as they hope it will bring a financial profit to the village in the future. This hope is fulfilled when a TV crew come to the village, looking for a dancing bear to be in their new music video. But the ...more
Jun 09, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This short story, perfectly complemented by Christian Birmingham's beautiful illustrations, is one that every child should read. The little village, tucked away in the mountains, is old-fashioned, cut off from the outside world and everyone is untainted by the modern way of life. "We are a world of our own and we like it that way." The arrival of Niki the world-famous singer and his film crew, contrast oddly with the peaceful, slow-moving world of the village people. Bruno is strong and lovable, ...more
Katy Noyes
Oct 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A short story from Morpurgo, but complete in its plot and character development. An orphaned bear is adopted by a girl in a mountain village, despite her father's protestations. The bear brings about prosperity and tourism to the people, and when a music video crew later visit to film a famous singer's latest pop video, life will change yet again.

Morpurgo doesn't ever seem to produce a dud. Despite its length, this is still engrossing. An old man of the village narrates the story, watching Roxan
Apr 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
this is a beautiful story, about a village girl who finds a bear cub in the forest, when she brings it back to her grandfather who is talking to the village men she asks if she my keep it. Her grandfather refuses at first but when one of the villagers says that the bear could attract tourists and make money, Roxannes grandfather lets her keep it. When a film crew, come to town, looking for a dancing bear.
the bear can dance, but when the director meets Roxanne he asks her if she would like to act
Farhana Imran
This book is narrated through the eyes of the villages local teacher. He explains how a small bear came down from the mountains and changed things forever.

It's about a lonely girl called Roxanne who befriends this bear and their close bond.

It's about an old man who only cares for money ( Roxanne's grandfather) and how he manipulates his grand daughter to use the bear for monetary gain.

It's about a film company which is looking for bear to star in it's new music video.

Michael Morpurgo has a talen
Dom Conlon
Apr 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I heard (rather than read) this story and came to it as a blank slate, not knowing anything about it or what to expect. And my goodness, I'm so very glad I did. The gentle tone unfolds in the most beautiful detail to reveal how the lives of a group of villagers are affected by the adoption of a bear cub. Every character is sensitively and lovingly written to create one of the most special stories I've read in a long while. Morpurgo is a master storyteller.
Alanna-Lee Sargeson
This was a very good book until it got to the end a it was really sad
Matt Chapman
Ok but a very abrupt ending.
May 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars, reread.
Short and sweet, with a touch of sadness.
Also bears are the cutest animal and I wish I was one.
Feb 12, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

This is a lovely story about a little orphan girl, Roxanne, who discovered a bear in her village up the mountain, names him Bruno, and begs her grandfather to keep him. They do so and Roxanne and Bruno become the best of friends, never leaving each other’s side. The grandfather is able to make money out of the bear, by branding his products and drawing in visitors to see the bear. They then are invaded by a film crew who want the bear to dance for them in the video, as well as using the villager
ZaraS ~ reader/reviewer
This is a really beautiful, heartwarming little story with an unexpected twist at the end. It is a very easy and quick read due to the size and flow of the book. Morpurgo knows how to write a sensitive story that grips you right from the beginning.

The story is all about a little girl called Roxanne who found a bear cub one day and after convincing her grandfather that the bear could make him some money he agreed to her keeping it. From this moment on Roxanne and the bear become very close, it wa
Dec 11, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
I listened to Ian McKellan narrating this story. As expected a wonderful narration bringing forth the emotion and depth of Morpurgo's tale in a highly accessible fashion. Coincidently reading a lot of the more traditional fairy tales at the moment and the similarities and differences strike me. I think it would be a great story to read with children throwing up numerous topics for discussion such as the treatment of animals, ambition, betterment, jealousy, grief, home, identity, where one does/d ...more
Rachael Hewison
I loved the fact that this book opened with a chapter from the author describing where he got the inspiration for this story and the fact that it's based on a real life bear. That was a fantastic build up to the story and made me look at it with a very different perspective.

The story definitely didn't turn out the way I expected to which made for a great surprise. It is beautifully written and incredibly sad. The drawings by Christian Birmingham were also stunning and really added to the story.
Feb 05, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sold
I read this book as a young child and loved it. To get the number of books I read this month up to my usual number of books per month, I decided to re read this book. Although it was short, I thought that it was a compelling tale. It's not something that I would always pick up, but I did thoroughly enjoy it.
Jan 23, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children, teen, 2012
This story is set in a small French village and it is all about Roxanne - a young orphan girl - and the bear she finds abandoned in the woods. It is the tale of how she cares for it and how the whole village see him as a friend. But this all changes when a film company arrive with a world famous pop star wanting to shoot his pop video with a dancing bear. But Bruno the bear won't perform for anyone but Roxanne and so it seems like all is lost until the crew hear her voice and realise she can be ...more
Dec 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I thought this book was thought provoking. When a film crew and a popstar arrive at young women Roxanne's town, Roxanne who owns a bear, Nicky, the popstar, wants to hire the bear to be in his latest music video. The video is based on the story of the Pied Piper, and Nicky picked Roxanne to be the 'princess' type character. Eventually, Roxanne and Nicky leave the village together, along with the film crew, and the question throughout the whole story, for me, was, Would you leave behind something ...more
Sophie Cox
This short book is a good one even though I am way too old to be reading it. I tend not to get rid of any books I buy and so have a lot of books from when I was younger that I read time to time because they warm the heart and are enjoyable all the same.
This book is a wonderful story about a girl and her bear and what happens when the girl grows up. The ending is sad in some ways and I feel that there is an in-depth meaning in this book that I haven't had enough time to find, which I might have t
This is the fourth Morpurgo book I've read and I enjoyed it except for the very sudden and sad ending. I felt like the ending was not even rushed - more just like chopped off.
The characters are lovely, even for such a short story, and the plot is interesting enough but with that ending... is Morpurgo trying to convey some sort of message? It seems that the final actions of the sweet main character, the choice she chooses for herself for a change, result in something bad. Is it maybe something to
Dec 31, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, childrens
This was sweet and sad story, as well writeen as all of Michael Morpurgo's books. My three star rating is nothing to do with the quality of the book but simply my relationship with it. Whereas a lot of Morpurgo's novel really cross the age divide and are of equal interest to adults and children this was clearly was a younger child's novel. As a book for a child in that age group it would have been given a 5 star rating.
Apr 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Despite this book being just a free gift in the national geographic for kids, each page egged me to read more. Less than 100 pages expressed desperation, love, history, culture and brought tears to my eyes - just as a good book should. I would have loved this book to be longer, however I believe it was the perfect length for Morpurgo to get his point across, when aiming this book at an audience that is known to have a short attention span. Brilliant!
Dec 10, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've made no secret of the fact that I think Morpurgo is somewhat overrated. I've now read a few of his books, and though interesting, they have so far lacked the wow factor I'd been led to expect from 'one of the world's greatest storytellers' as I've heard him described.
So when I was given a copy of the Dancing Bear, I wasn't enthused. Still, it was a nice quick read and I had a few minutes to spare, so why not?
It hasn't made it into my favourites list, but I really enjoyed it.
Andy Turner
Apr 27, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens
This is a short story about a small and fairly isolated village in the mountains and how it gained a pet bear and about the big wide world of fame and fortune that comes to visit and offers a new life of fame and fortune to a child of the village. Central to the story is the character of a good teacher. It's heart warming and hopeful despite having the characteristic not so happy parts that most Morpurgo stories have.
May 05, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This is the story of a young village girl Roxanne who befriends a young bear cub that she finds alone in the forest. She is an orphan and lives with her grandfather who does not want to let her keep the bear. That is until he realises he can make money from tourists who want to see the bear. One day the village is chosen as a location by a film crew and everyone's life is changed by this event especially Roxanne's.
Dec 06, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I will definitely add this title to my list of favorite Michael Morpurgo books - a short but beautifully crafted story that brought tears into my eyes. As in many of his books, at the center of the story is the unusual relationship between a human (here: a girl) and an animal (here: a bear) that will make the reader think and ponder long after the book has been read. I am almost certain that this slim book will become a hit with our upper elementary students.
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Michael Morpurgo is the author of many books for children, five of which have been made into films. He also writes his own screenplays and libretti for opera. Born in St Albans, Hertfordshire, in 1943, he was evacuated to Cumberland during the last years of the Second World War, then returned to London, moving later to Essex. After a brief and unsuccessful spell in the army, he took up teaching an ...more
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