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The Water Bears
 
by
Kim Baker
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The Water Bears

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3.75  ·  Rating details ·  126 ratings  ·  42 reviews
A story about a boy recovering from a bear attack with the help of his friends and maybe, some magic.

All Newt Gomez wants for his thirteenth birthday is a bike. After surviving a bear attack last year, he thinks this isn't an unreasonable request. Instead, his hardworking parents give him a former taco truck to help him get around the wacky island where they live in the Pa
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Hardcover
Published 2020 by Random House Books for Young Readers
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Average rating 3.75  · 
Rating details
 ·  126 ratings  ·  42 reviews


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Serena
Apr 11, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc
I recieved this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

In short: this book just didn't do it for me, and it wasn't because it's a middle-grade.

First, as an ownvoices reviewer, I want to talk about the latinx aspec of this book, and emphasize that I didn't have a problem with it at all. There was some instances where the Spanish felt weird and not grammatically correct, but I can easily believe it's because none of the characters live in a Spanish-speaking country, and most of them n
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Kerri Kokias
May 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A thoughtful and beautifully written story that addresses the themes of growing up, love, belonging, friendship, family, and overcoming fear.
Karen McKenna
Mar 21, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Newt Gomez is a character to root for. He is struggling with nightmares after surviving a bear attack the summer before. He is about to head to middle school, and struggling to decide if he should move out to the mainland or stay on the quirky island of Murphy, a former vaudeville vacation destination that has now become an eclectic place to call home. He feels drawn to his larger extended family on the mainland, while also pulled to stay for his parents and younger sister. To make things more i ...more
Laura
Newt lives in a small community of a island, and not only is he the only Mexican-American boy in his class, but the only boy who has been attacked by a bear. Newt wants to be known for something other than a bear attack, and so wants to leave the island to find a new community to belong to.

And then he finds a magic wooden bear.

Or at least all his friends think it is magic.

This is the most common story of wanting to belong, with a good, well done voice of a young man feeling out of place. It was
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Shaye Miller
Apr 30, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a deceiving cover… At first glance, it makes me think of a cutsie childhood story. But this book was anything but childish. Thirteen-year-old Newt Gomez recently survived a bear attack. He’s struggled with the memory of the attack, but he doesn’t want to be known only as “the boy who survived a bear attack.” Lately, he’s been wanting to leave his quirky Murphy Island to live with his abuela on the mainland as he enters seventh grade. He keeps pushing the issue of changing schools with his p ...more
Leslie
2 1/2 stars. It was okay. If you read it to only spend time with characters and are interested in a (questionably charming) quirky island community--yes. Leti is cool. Ethan is a favorite. The friendship story is a good one.

This is a good book to talk about the ways in which weird can be good or discomfiting. The taco truck, I think, is supposed to eventually make sense plot-wise, but that initial "what?!" lingers a long while; Newts needs the means to haul around a bear statue he can speak to t
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Ms. Yingling
E ARC from Edelweiss
Nicole
Aug 12, 2020 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Copy received from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Review to come soon!
Nora
Sep 04, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyable read. Struck me as being kind of Gilmore Girls (in terms of small-town quirky charm and characters)--and I love Gilmore Girls, so that was a plus--mixed with magic (which might be real, or might be in the characters' imaginations). I liked the characters (especially Ethan), the descriptions of coastal settings, and the sprinklings of Spanish words and phrases.
Would have liked to see the Mom and Mr. Mustard characters developed a bit more.
Looking forward to sharing this with emerging
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Kathie
Nov 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for an eARC of this book.

I requested this book because I knew the author was a Las Musas author, and I would like to read more stories by Latinx authors this year. I'm also drawn to stories where "quirky" is used to describe it, and that's an excellent word for THE WATER BEARS by Kim Baker.

Newt and his family live on a small island in the Pacific Northwest. He's recovering from a traumatic bear attack that leaves him with nightmares and draws looks of sym
...more
Kathie
Nov 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for an eARC of this book.

I requested this book because I knew the author was a Las Musas author, and I would like to read more stories by Latinx authors this year. I'm also drawn to stories where "quirky" is used to describe it, and that's an excellent word for THE WATER BEARS by Kim Baker.

Newt and his family live on a small island in the Pacific Northwest. He's recovering from a traumatic bear attack that leaves him with nightmares and draws looks of sym
...more
JenLovesBooks
This was a little bit of a slow start, so wasn't sure how that was going to go as I kept reading. But, it eventually became a story worth reading. There is bits of "magic" that fill these pages, making Newt's story more captivating and surprisingly emotional.

Like I said, it did take a little to really get into the heart of the story, but not enough to keep me from the rest of it, and all of Newt's family and the Latinx representation. Which, I feel was done properly. It's always a plus to see th
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C.
This book is a sweet, if sometimes slow moving story, of a thirteen year old dealing with trauma, and growing up things.

Newt was attacked by a bear and the story opens with him wishing for a different place where he is not reminded constantly of the thing that happened to him. He wants to leave the island, wants a bike, wants a lot of different things that keep working not quite like he hopes.

I loved the way the story took these imperfect circumstances and tosses them around so they come out w
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Fran
May 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love this story of overcoming trauma, of quirky people, of magic, kind of. It’s funny and sad at the same time. It’s a reflection of what really goes on in people’s hearts.
I fell I love with Newton, ‘Newt’ for short, the middle school age hero. He brought back some good childhood memories of my own and new insights of what it means to be human, to be loved, and to love in return.
Newt is Hispanic, a culture that’s seldom represented in children’s literature. Young readers who see themselves i
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Colline Vinay Kook-Chun
This is a wonderful and poignant story that middle grade readers will enjoy. It contains a little adventure, some facts about nature, and features a boy who learns the value of friendship and that it is okay to be a little different.

Newt has experienced a traumatic event (the bear attack) and slowly learns to accept what has happened to him. He also learns, with the help of his friends, that he can move on from his experience – and that it is okay to move on in a way of his choosing. Newt learns
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Barbara
Thirteen-year-old Newt Gomez is tired of being known as the boy who survived a bear attack and dreams of leaving his home on Murphy Island for the mainland. When he finds an odd bear statue carved from wood, his friend Ethan convinces him that it can grant wishes. At first, Newt scoffs at his friend's belief, but as many of the wishes of the town's residents are granted, he becomes less cynical. Many fifth and sixth grade readers will be able to relate to Newt's desire to chart new courses while ...more
Rebecca
Everyone on the island knows Newt Gomez--he's the boy who survived a bear attack, and has the damaged leg to show it. Newt relives the attack in his dreams every night, and longs to leave the island to live with his abuela on the mainland, but his parents are against it. To help him get around the island, his father gives him an aging taco truck (even though he's just 13). On one excursion with his best friend, Newt finds a water-damaged bear statue on the beach, and they haul it to the truck. E ...more
Deanna Holdsworth
Newt Gomez and his family live on Murphy Island it used to be a resort casino but now it is very unique with artists, exotic birds, and rumored sightings of Marvelo (lake monster). Newt's school is made up of old casino buildings, lunch is served in the old pool! Newt was attacked by a bear and the scars seem to be what people notice about him. He wants to move forward but bears seem to be a part of his life. Ethan, Newt's best friend, and Newt find a huge bear made from a tree along the shore o ...more
Shakira
4.5 out of 5
In this book, you follow Newt Gomez, a boy who survived a bear attack the year before and is still dealing with the trauma at age 13 and not feeling like he fits in his town, because of his heritage. You not only see how the experience effected him, but also a little bit of how it effected his family. I liked that I got to walk with Newt through his road to healing, I like that I got to read about his family's Mexican culture( I love reading about food😍😋), also, I liked all the bears
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Mary Sanchez
Newt Gomez, age thirteen, lives on Murphy Island where he was attacked by a bear and still has physical reminders and often relives the traumatic event in his dreams.

He wants to leave the island and live with his abuela on the mainland, but his dad buys him a taco truck to get around more easily. While driving the truck, Newt finds a carved bear statue and his friend believes the bear (named Huxley) will grant wishes, but Newt isn't convinced even when some people in the community have had thei
...more
Adele
Sep 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Newt is having bad dreams a year after he was attacked by a bear. His leg is scared and slows him down. He wants to leave his island home with its reminders of the trauma, but that means leaving his bear friend, his little sister and his mom and dad. His dad wins an old dios truck and gifts it to Newt even though he is only 13 years old. He really just wanted a new bike. He and Ethan find a carved bear who may grant wishes. This is just the kind of quirky I love.
LS Johnson
I enjoyed this story about a boy recovering from, and making his way past, a tragic a bear attack. There were so many plot lines to follow that it became kind of distracting and diluted the powerful recovery theme. My favorite quote: “Sometimes sadness comes out of someone like breath, even though they don’t talk. Especially when they don’t talk at all.”
Cat
Aug 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My Recommendation
Actually, this book would make a wonderful summer read for middle grade school kids!. I thought the premise was pretty neat. The characters were well developed and I think it's terrific to feature a Hispanic boy as a central character. It's a solidly good story I think kids will enjoy and maybe learn from.
I received a Kindle arc from Netgalley in exchange for a fair review.
K.Headd
Sep 24, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am an adult, but still really enjoyed The Water Bears. The author creates such a wonderful world on Murphy Island. I want to go visit! What a wonderful and unique backstory Ms. Baker imagined for her setting. Reading about the island and it’s inhabitants was my favorite part. She really captured the ethos and personalities that often populate island communities.
Jenny Wheelbarrow
Sweet story, but oh so slow. The cover was intriguing so I took the bait. A little bit of magic and a lot of self-discovery after a bear attack. Sweet middle school friendships - ones that have your back and not stabbing it.
Steph
Aug 03, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Marvelo the lake monster reminded me of a character pulled from a Melissa Savage novel! Add that to the 13-year-old driver of a taco truck, scars from a bear attack, and a whole lot of magic & friendship - and you have the sweet book The Water Bears by Kim Baker. ...more
Bethe
Bookaday #86. Newt is learning to overcome nightmares after a dangerous encounter with a bear, trying to find his place again on his island home. Love the setting and characters, but there seems to be a lot going on that isn’t completely resolved.
Alexandra Alessandri
Jun 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ls-books
My 12yo son read THE WATER BEARS and loved it!
Julia
Jul 22, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
2.5. This book just did not grab me. I found it tough to get through. It took a long time to get going.
Heidi
Oct 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Finished the audio book. Really enjoyed it.
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