Book Review: The Bear With the Sword

14 05 2012

Today’s book review is part of a blog tour for Davide Cali—a children’s book writer and illustrator who was born in Northern Switzerland and grew up in Italy. Davide speaks French, Italian and English and he is currently on a blog tour before travelling to Australia to celebrate his new comic book/graphic novel, 10 Little Insects. (Kids Book Review has a sneak peek inside 10 Little Insects … check it out here. )

Davide Cali has created more than forty illustrated books for publishers in Austria, France, Italy, Argentina and Portugal. His books have been translated for 25 countries.

The bear with the sword (cover)

The Bear With the Sword by David Cali, ill. by Gianluca Foli, ISBN 9780980607048, Wilkins Farago

In this modern-day fable, we meet a bear with a sword that can cut through anything. He starts cutting all sorts of things to prove it and ends up cutting down an entire forest.

Our bear lives in a fortress and one morning it is destroyed by flooding. The bear is furious—

I’ll find out who did this and cut him in two with my sword.

And so he sets off. He starts by accusing the keepers of the dam, who claim they are not responsible and pass him along to the pigdeer (who charged at them and scared them). But the pigdeer blames the fox, and so on along a line of animals—until the bear discovers the real culprit.

Gianluca Foli’s illustrations reflect the bear’s state of mind. At the start of the book the backgrounds are chaotic and messy. The bear is depicted as a massive hulk of a beast, especially in the first two thirds of the book. (If you look closely, there are hints to his gentler side, though. When his fortress is being flooded, he clutches a small teddy.) Towards the end—when he discovers what caused the flood—he starts to change, and the last illustrations show his gentler side.

This picture book would be wonderful for discussions on a variety of topics, such as:

  • environmental issues
  • actions and consequences
  • anger management
  • body language
  • bullying
  • conflict resolution

There are extensive teachers’ notes available from the Wilkins Farago website.

Check out the complete blog tour schedule (and reviews of Davide Cali’s books) on the Wilkins Farago blog.

© May 2012 “Book Review: The Bear with the Sword”  Reviewed by Rebecca Newman



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