Atheneum, 2015 (2015)
Reviewed by Jessica Maguire
is such a hauntingly beautiful read that I recommend it not only for its target audience, readers aged eight to twelve-years-old, but for adults as well.
t's set in northern Laos, where young Tam confronts a Moon Bear cub and its mother. Little does Tam know that tragedy will soon strike the bear family as well as his own. Circumstance brings Tam and the cub together in the unlikeliest of places - the city.
hile Tam is working feverishly to earn money to send home to his mother and sisters, he finds that life for caged Moon Bears kept in the city is no better than his own. He soon vows to help free the bears, used only to collect their bile, in particular the little Moon Bear cub he saw from his days in his old village, now demolished for a new highway.
his touching and tragic novel brings to light the plight of once wild bears used for one purpose, medicine. You can't help but feel horrible for the bears in the story as their suffering is detailed in the collection of their bile.
ou'll be rooting for Tam, whose own suffering parallels that of the bears (minus the bile collection, of course), as he plans and collaborates with new city friends in his escape to freedom. And yes, his plans for freedom includes the bears.
n enthralling page-turner for both your young reader and yourself,
is a must read.
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