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

The Girl Who Speaks Bear

by
4.34  ·  Rating details ·  1,592 ratings  ·  283 reviews
Found abandoned in a bear cave as a baby, 12-year-old Yanka has always felt out of place in her small village. When she wakes up to find that her legs have become bear legs, she sets off into the forest to discover who she is, on a journey that takes her from icy rivers to smouldering mountains, with an ever-growing group of misfits alongside her... Interwoven with traditi ...more
Paperback, 416 pages
Published September 5th 2019 by Usborne Publishing
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 The Girl Who Speaks Bear, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Gretchen Bernet-Ward HarperCollins Australia indicate "Age from 8 years JUVENILE FICTION / Fantasy & Magic". …moreHarperCollins Australia indicate "Age from 8 years JUVENILE FICTION / Fantasy & Magic". (less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.34  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,592 ratings  ·  283 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Start your review of The Girl Who Speaks Bear
Gavin
Aug 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Once Upon a Time, there was a girl called Yanka who didn't know who she was. Abandoned in a bear cave, she is raised in a nearby village, but something keeps pulling her towards the Snow Forest, where an epic adventure awaits her...

I loved this book. I knew I would going into it because this is the second book by Sophie Anderson, and I adored her 2018 children's novel, 'The House With Chicken Legs'. I didn't think this one would beat 'House' for my affections, but incredibly, it did. It's a no-b
...more
Sara
Nov 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Yanka has always felt that she doesn’t quite fit in to the village she was raised in. Found as a baby in a bear cave, she’s felt a special calling to the forest. So when, one day, she wakes up with bear legs she sets out on an adventure with house weasel Mousetrap to discover who her family are, and who she really is.

This swept me away with its lush descriptions of a snowy magical enchanted forest interspersed with magical fairytales. Yanka is a wonderful character, who manages to convey this f
...more
Ashleigh (a frolic through fiction)
*Rated 3.5/5 stars
Sophie Crane
Nov 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What a beautifully written book. I loved the character of Yanka and the story took us along on her journey. She didn’t think she fitted in where she lived- was that linked to the fact she was found in a bear cave? As she adventures to find out more about her past, she discovers the truth about her family. I particularly liked the fact that The house with chicken legs is mentioned throughout as I loved that book too. I can’t wait to share this with my book club! Recommended to readers 8+
Peter
Apr 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, middle-grade
This book is ROARSOMELY brilliant! My favourite Children’s Book I’ve read so far this year!
Michelle Harrison
Aug 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A gorgeously magical, lyrical fairy tale. A story within a story. Sophie Anderson’s writing is beautiful.
Steph
Apr 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Storytelling at its very finest. Brilliant characters, beautiful worlds, exciting adventures and powerful messages. I just adored this. Yanka is a character that kids and adults will adore, and relate to! You can’t beat a bit of finding yourself and your people (or animals) with a good bit of story woven together. Just bloody brilliant.
Noelia Alonso
Feb 12, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2020
RATING: 3.5 STARS (7/10)

this is a great children's book with a beautiful message about belonging and accepting ourselves as we are; with an awesome cast of animal characters. children will love this fairytale.
Elliott
Jul 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
For as long as I can remember, I have adored Russian fairy tales and folklore with its amazing creations of the firebird, Koschei the Deathless, and, especially, the Baba Yaga. When I read The House with Chicken Legs by Sophie Anderson, I was enthralled with how she was able to bring such a fresh and original perspective on the myth of Baba Yaga. It instantly became one of my favorite books and I knew I would look forward to anything that she wrote. I was over-the-moon-thrilled when she sent me ...more
Scott Evans (The Reader Teacher/MrEPrimary)
Finished #TheGirlWhoSpeaksBear & my bookish heart is BURSTING. It’s every superlative I could say. The kind of folktales that show the strength of stories & remind us of who we are. I find myself feeling empty & so whole of emotion at the same time within Sophie’s words & worlds. ...more
Smitha Murthy
Sep 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Fans of Katherine Arden
A couple of years ago I came across Katherine Arden’s magical Russian fairy tale called ‘The Bear And The Nightingale.’ I remember being lost in her books, my friend and I devouring them as soon as she released them. Now, ‘The Girl Who Speaks Bear’ is similar to Arden’s fabulous stories.

Set in Russia, we have a girl and a bear called Yanka who yearns to find out who she is, her past, and her true family. Taking her along in this journey is a bunch of assorted animals, including the lovable Mous
...more
Robin Stevens
May 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A gorgeous fairy tale adventure - Sophie Anderson has done it again! I loved this book. (9+)

*Please note: this review is meant as a recommendation only. If you use it in any marketing material, online or anywhere on a published book without asking permission from me first, I will ask you to remove that use immediately. Thank you!*
Catherine Doyle
Apr 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A magical, captivating read. It's beautiful from start to finish, and certainly a worthy follow up to The House With Chicken Legs which was one of my favourite books of last year.
Somia
Sep 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-s-books
Once Upon a Time, there was a girl called Yanka who didn't know who she was. Abandoned in a bear cave, she is raised in a nearby village, but something keeps pulling her towards the Snow Forest, where a marvellously epic adventure awaits, one which will finally unveil the secrets of her past and present.

I have to say the world found in the Snow Forest, as well as the fairy-tales intricately woven into Yanka’s story/adventure added a lovely layer to the overarching tale.

A charming and somewhat wh
...more
Anna  Sjösvärd
LOVE ❤️
Alfie Rowland
Jul 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Sophie Anderson returns yet again with another story inspired and influenced by the stories that her Prussian grandmother would tell her as a child. This time we follow Yanka the Bear, not that she’s an actual bear, but she’s just strong like one and she’s even the tallest person in her village. She lives with her Mamochka and their house weasel who found her wandering near a bear cave when she was just a few years old . However, Yanka doesn’t always fit in. She doesn’t have many friends at all ...more
Rutuja Ramteke
May 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
💍The Girl Who Speaks Bear By Sophie Anderson💍
Found abandoned in a bear cave as a baby, 12-year-old Yanka has always felt out of place in her small village. When she wakes up to find that her legs have become bear legs, she sets off into the forest to discover who she is, on a journey that takes her from icy rivers to smouldering mountains, with an ever-growing group of misfits alongside her.
.
📚My Take: I am a kind of reader who is always immersed in a fantasy land of my own. So, for me this book
...more
Holly
Feb 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
Unsure whether to rate this 3 1/2 or 4 ⭐️! It’s so magical, I just wasn’t a massive fan of the ending. The whole dragon thing wasn’t necessary. I feel like it would’ve been better and more magical without it 🤷🏻‍♀️ but still so so magical! ✨
Rachel
Sep 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019-favs
I love THE HOUSE WITH CHICKEN LEGS when I read it last year, so you can imagine my delight when I found out that her next book was about a girl. Who is also a bear. Which, if you ask me, is beary freaking cool🐻

But THE GIRL WHO SPEAKS BEAR is not just a story about a girl who is also a bear; it interweaves Russian fairytales of princesses and dragons and bears (of course) alongside a tale of a girl who is trying to uncover the truth about her family and her past together with friends she makes al
...more
Stacey
Jan 01, 2020 rated it liked it
Although I enjoyed this story and the way that it wove folklore into the story, I felt it was a bit too similar to The House with Chicken Legs, which I absolutely adored. I liked the message the book left the reader with, but at times I thought it was a little slow moving.
Izzie
Jan 16, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: standalones, for-kids
This was a cute read. My grandma got it me for Christmas even though I'm just a little (a lot) above the recommended age range. I bet kids would adore this though, and I did love all the interwoven stories and how they all came together in the end.
Dawn Teresa
One day I’d like to find the story of my past, and I hope it’s something more magical than being unwanted and abandoned as a baby. I hope it’s a tale filled with wonder that explains who I am and why I’m different, why I hear the trees whispering secrets, and why I always feel the forest, pulling me in.


Once upon a time, a girl named Yanka longed for answers about her past so that she could know where she belonged. Yanka remembers the bear who raised her as a baby in the snow forest. Though she h
...more
Reixma
Apr 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-bookshelf, o-w-l-s
5 *

This book was read as part of a reading challenge. I can't say what the prompt was as it is a bit of a spoiler!

I went into this book thinking it would be a good one, but I was not expecting how good. I really like this book!

The story follows a young girl called Yanka who, being different from her peers and other villagers around her, begins a search to find out who she is, where she came from, and where her birth family is.
Her adoptive mother tries to help her understand where she came from,
...more
Alice
Sep 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya-middlegrade
Apart from Tamora Pierce’s works, I don’t think I’ve encountered a more perfect children’s book.

This plot is honestly more sophisticated, with a better message, than most of the YA books I’ve read so far this year.

The allegorical (or are they literal? Read the book and find out!) side stories blend seamlessly with the main plot and narrative to create a story that grows with the character without being distracting. There are so many parts that all come together at the end without a single thin
...more
Amy
Dec 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
WHAT AN INCREDIBLY MAGICAL AND DELIGHTFUL STORY. I read this in one quick go and it was just amazing; I enjoyed the House with the Chicken Legs but this was on a completely other level and was just such a good story. I was entranced the whole time I was reading it and that massive plot twist that should be obvious, did not see coming until we were being told about it.

Sophie Anderson has a way of writing that just hooks you in and makes you want to curl up with a blanket and fall into her story.
...more
Anny
Such a fantastic story!

This is exactly what I look for when I read Middle Grade. A tender, loving story, which reads easily, there is little to no real heavy stuff, but there is enough twists and turns to keep you on the edge!

A delicate story about Yanka, a girl who is searching for her identity and eventually also finds valuable advice, such as how important asking for help and sticking together is.

More books should be just like this one.
Lauren
Feb 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, childrens
It was kind of like Brother Bear, we stan
Katy English
Aug 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Pure magic. Sophie’s writing is GORGEOUS, and I loved this just as much as I loved The House With Chicken Legs (and I loved that a lot!)
Becca
Oct 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
Once upon a time..... this is beautiful and stuffed full of Russian folklore and great stories in a story and full of ace characters and is just delightful. Gorgeous.
MrsSock
Jul 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Excellent.
« 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 »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Girl Who Stole an Elephant
  • The House of One Hundred Clocks
  • A Sprinkle of Sorcery (A Pinch of Magic, #2)
  • The Star Outside my Window
  • Frostheart (Frostheart #1)
  • Crater Lake
  • A Pinch of Magic (A Pinch of Magic, #1)
  • The Land of Roar
  • Malamander (The Legends of Eerie-on-Sea, #1)
  • Orphans of the Tide
  • Darkwhispers: A Brightstorm Adventure
  • The Highland Falcon Thief
  • The Last Spell Breather
  • Gargantis (The Legends of Eerie-on-Sea, #2)
  • Rumblestar (The Unmapped Chronicles, #1)
  • The Strangeworlds Travel Agency (Strangeworlds Travel Agency #1)
  • WildSpark
  • The Wild Way Home
See similar books…
378 followers
Sophie Anderson grew up with stories in her blood, from her mother, who is a writer, to her Prussian grandmother, whose own storytelling inspires Sophie's novels.

Born in Swansea but now living in the Lake District with her family, Sophie enjoys the freedom of homeschooling her four children, fell-walking and daydreaming.

Sophie's bestselling novels have been shortlisted for the CILIP Carnegie Medal
...more

Related Articles

If you love the fantasy genre, this is the season for you! Some of the biggest books out this fall promise to be epics full of magic, adventure,...
186 likes · 49 comments
“One day I’d like to find the story of my past, and I hope it’s something more magical than being unwanted and abandoned as a baby. I hope it’s a tale filled with wonder, that explains who I am and why I’m different, why I hear the trees whispering secrets, and why I always feel the forest, pulling me in.” 1 likes
More quotes…