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La famosa invasione degli orsi in Sicilia

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  1,376 ratings  ·  159 reviews
Una fiaba stupenda in cui si racconta della guerra tra il Granduca di Sicilia e Re Leonzio, sovrano degli orsi. Una guerra in cui saranno coinvolti il sanguinario Gatto Mammone, gli spettri di Rocca Demona e i cinghiali volanti di Molfetta, fino alla vittoria che insedierà Leonzio sul trono di una Sicilia remotissima e fantastica. Ma se pensate che la storia finisca qui, ...more
Paperback, 132 pages
Published 2012 by Oscar Mondadori (first published 1945)
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Average rating 3.98  · 
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 ·  1,376 ratings  ·  159 reviews

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Aug 09, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a rather adorable book following the adventure of the bear king Leander. Perhaps a little too old world conservative in that the moral of the story is that it is better to starve to death rather than be prideful or debaucherous, but the journey of the bears is endearing and the illustrations are gorgeous. I'm tempted to buy a second book just to tear it apart and frame the plates.

I do have some issues with this edition. It seems that the illustrations aren't placed very well within the
Ksenia Anske
Mar 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was such a bizarre and lovely delight. Recommended by Lemony Snicket, so of course I read it and giggled all the way. Fighting bears, wild boars turning into balloons, a giant killer cat, castles, brandy, frozen ballerinas, pools of blood, gambling, bank robbing, rod beatings...does this still sound like a children's story to you? Its darkness draws on the best tradition of fairy tales. Because, let's face it, fairy tales are full of horror.
Bobby Simic
The kidnapping of a bear cub eventually leads to a war between man and bear. The bears eventually are victorious, but their human-like society they build for themselves soon begins to destruct because of greed and corruption.
The hysterical introduction and reader's companion by Lemony Snicket turn this bizarre tale into a children's lit version of Mystery Science Theater 3000 and almost make the actual story worth reading. Almost.
This is one of those books that
Marty Reeder
I first stumbled across Dino Buzzati with one of his short stories "Seven Floors," which I found well written and extremely intriguing. So I searched out a book of his that I could read and I came across The Bears' Famous Invasion of Sicily. On the surface the two stories could hardly be more different: one is an adult story about a man going to a hospital, which has a somewhat dark undertone; the other is a children's story about talking bears from long ago with lots of silly asides, ...more
Nov 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the greatest children's books of all-time - a whimsical delight, fresh and erudite. This is a charmer from start to finish with the authors own illustrations. I could really see myself reading this again very, very soon.
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
This book should be widely read. Why is this the first I've heard of The Bears' Famous Invasion of Sicily?

A baby bear is kidnapped by the humans and the bears retaliate by going to war against people. The bears win. But as the bears rule the humans, the bears begin to take on the humans' worst characteristics.

A very clever story, beautifully told, beautifully illustrated.
Whispering Stories
When a harsh winter hits Sicily, the bears who live high up in the mountains venture down to the village below in an attempt to find food. However in doing so, they start a war with the army of the Grand Duke of Sicily.

But will the bears be happy once they have destroyed the village and the army?

The book opens up with a section of ‘who’s who’. To be honest I actually ignored this section at the start and moved on straight to the story, as I like to find out who is who when I meet them, so I used
Jun 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-s
What a fun surprise! Mix of poetry and prose kept the story moving at a lilting pace, which kept my kids hooked. At the end of every chapter, they begged for more. The plot itself was simple and predictable but not without valuable insights and lessons onto themes of fear, power, luxury, corruption, betrayal, and the value of simple living and country life.

The illustrations were CHARMING and lent significantly to the appeal of the story. If you enjoyed stories like Winnie the Pooh, Warership
Kit Haggard
Dec 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My favorite author, Lemony Snicket, said that this was his favorite book and that he really recommended it. At times, it could be confusing, but mostly, the battle between the bear and humans kept me engaged. Snicket put a readers guide in the back with fun activities and recepies. Cheers to Dino Buzzati!
May 14, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: italian
Enjoyable story for children with very nice illustrations about bears coming down from the hills and overthrowing the rule of the grand duke and the king of the bears taking over. I liked the punishment mentioned in passing for people cheating at cards.
Buzzati's fairy tale is charming, and Lemony Snicket's contribution proves to be a good pairing, though his charm is a little more affected. But even affected charm is still charming, of course.

One question lingers, where's that werewolf? Oh no! Aughh!
Paul Chlebowski
Nov 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Delightful read; graphics are real treat.
Tamer Taşkıran
More than a children's story
Aug 13, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The story will be fun to read aloud to an older elementary school kid. The illustrations are awesome. Terribly disappointed in the weird way the poetic sections were translated. Very clunky.
Adam Johnson
A quick delightful tale with some really charming illustrations.
Euan Pollock
Aug 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A classic - the numerous lessons here not only made exquisitely simple, but also sufficiently subtle that it didn't feel like morals were being stuffed down the throat.
May 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars. I wish there were some female characters. It was a fun book
Hiba Miari
Jan 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Weird and funny. The introduction by Lemony Snicket is even weirder.
Felicity Terry
Apr 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another great edition to the Children's and Young Adults' Collection from Alma Books, this one marketed at those aged nine to eleven. Not that as an older reader you should let this put you off as no matter nine (I'd advise caution in younger, perhaps more sensitive readers as whilst not outrageously so there is some peril, some of which could be considered violent, albeit it no worse than that in many fables/folk tales) or ninety years young this is a delightfully quirky read.

One of those books
CD Borden
Feb 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Bears’ Famous Invasion of Sicily is one of the noblest books I know. At once a tragic inquiry and a philosophical history, the novel examines ambition, violence, and revenge in the voice of an adult explaining things to children—a voice that is simultaneously wise, wry, and wrong. Little wonder that it is not only my favorite book, but Lemony Snicket’s as well.
—Daniel Handler

The Bears’ Famous Invasion of Sicily is one of the noblest books I know. At once a philosophical history and a tragic
Tyler Jones
The history of Sicily is full of invasions and occupations by foreign powers- but what of the most ancient and amazing invasion of them all? Now, finally, we can read of that military victory so full of brilliant strategy and individual heroism. Under the sage leadership of King Leander and assisted by the inspired inventions of The Bear Marzipan and the heroic courage of The Bear Merlin, the Bears must face many bizzare and terrible foes. Even more interesting than the invasion is the story of ...more
When I read Dino Buzzati's The Tartar Steppe, I was surprised to learn that the author of that meditative, philosophical novel is also renowned for...a children's book about bears? If only more authors had such breadth. The Bears' Famous Invasion of Sicily would be straight-up cute (and often it is) if not for the fact that humans and bears are waging war on each other, driven by the bears' starvation and the fact that their king Leander's son Tony was stolen by humans. The bears, successful in ...more
Apr 10, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Whether it was a not-too-serious story of conquest and peaceful co-habitation, or a vaguely moralistic mid-20th Century tale bemoaning society's ills is neither here nor there. Lemony Snicket has already co-opted all reviewability out of this book, so it is a criminal waste of anyone's time to write their own. Nonetheless, I choose to live in King Leander's world of heroic naivety and dub this book a farcical pleasure very much worth reading, but not at all worth the effort of writing ...more
May 05, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An absurd tale of the perils of civilisation: a colony of bears leave their idyllic mountain home and invade a city, taking on the trappings of their human neighbours. In the end, however, things turn bad and the dying request of their leader is a return to nature.

This Italian classic felt a bit of a niche interest to me; the style of writing and illustration definitely feels like it came from another era, and may have a hard time gaining lots of new young readers (as opposed to adults reliving
Apr 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Starving after a harsh winter, the bears descend from the mountains in search for food and invade the valley below, where they face fierce opposition from the army of the Grand Duke of Sicily. After many battles, scrapes and dangers, the bears reign is established over land, but their victory comes at a price.
This book is written and illustrated by Dino Buzzati. Buzzati's famous children's story here presented with additional reader's resources by Lemony Snicket and the author's own iconic
This is what every children's book should strive to be. A fun handling of adult themes that is not dumbed down for kids. Materialism and exitensialism in a fantastic world with funny and detailed artwork.

An excerpt of the book (where the bears must face a giant sea serpent):

Men: Monster of the deep/ From the world outside/ What do you betide, Joy or tears to weep?

The Serpent: No, my fatal hiss/ Speaks of tenebrose/ Mysteries none knows/ From the black abyss.

Men: From the black abyss/ Jesus
May 03, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people wondering about their place in life
I really enjoy the philosophy behind this book. It's beautiful how he explains heavy concepts like death and ghosts to a child audience. The logic is so fresh and comforting. Certain moments brought me to tears. This is a good book for children who are asking questions about their place in society and the world. I feel like the concerns of the bears are very meaningful and sometimes mirror Animal Farm. Some of the language is a little obscure, but it only adds to the charm. I will suggest not ...more
This book has a lot of fun, and a lot of violence too. You won't find better illustrations than the ones within these pages. They are charming and detailed and colorful. Don't skip the list of characters at the beginning (playful descriptions and menacing silhouettes). Don't skip the afterword/Reading Guide by Lemony Snicket either, where he gives the reader creative activities like the following:

Practice the art of flattery by trying the following exercise:
When a teacher says something
L. Petunia
I picked up this book because of Lemony Snicket. I can definitely see why "he" liked it. It's very surreal at times, a bit like ASOUE. I thought the art was cute and sometimes the story made me laugh out loud in surprise, but for the most part, it was a bit strange and just jumped from one point to the next. Still, I get that it was "fairy tale" style, and I did like it.

The Snicket reader guide was my favorite part by far, though. It was so hilarious, and was almost a parody of typical reader
Chris Callaway
Apr 05, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens-books
This was a lot of fun. Imaginative, whimsical and often very funny, although like many older stories for children there is more of a rough edge to it in that death and violence are more prominent. But that isn't central to the story, and I wouldn't expect it to be upsetting to young readers (but what do I know?). The story is unique, but it reminds me of the "Uncle" stories and Tolkien's "Father Christmas Letters" (especially the illustrations).

It's part of the wonderful NY Review of Books
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Dino Buzzati Traverso was an Italian novelist, short story writer, painter and poet, as well as a journalist for Corriere della Sera. His worldwide fame is mostly due to his novel Il deserto dei Tartari, translated into English as The Tartar Steppe.
“Is it fair for the bears to come down to where humans live, looking for food? Is it fair for the Duke's soldiers to shoot at them? Is it fair for the bears to crush them with giant snowballs?
Often, if you point out something that isn't fair, someone will reply, "Life isn't fair." What is to be done with such people?”
More quotes…