Saturday, April 9, 2011

The Bears Famous Invasion

The Bears’ Famous Invasion of Sicily by Dino Buzzati
2005 (it was first published in Italian, but this is the English edition with the Introduction by Lemony Snicket)
Weight: 9.6 oz
Method of Disposal: Leaving somewhere, unless you want it.

Such fun! I love children’s books that treat their audience with respect and assume that they are an intelligent crowd. It is why the Lemony Snicket series is so successful, and it is why this book is great. The humor is dark and the story is often depressing, though triumphant. There is a lot of violence and betrayal. There is also heroism and friendship. I was amused to see “GRE words” dotted throughout the text. Teach em’ those fun oft-used words young! I support it. How improved my life would have been if I had known the word “nettle” when I was in grade school.

The book includes poetry, prose, b+w and colored illustrations, a character guide (that is hilarious), and a Reader’s Companion that was written by Snicket himself. You can find some valuable lessons in this last component. “The lesson of this chapter is clear: Cats—and their owners—are not to be trusted (165).” This refers to a massive, hungry cat that attacks the bears in chapter 4. It is unleashed by its wicked troll of an owner. Or, “The lesson of this chapter is clear: There are few things more painful than a bad evening at the theater (169).” This is referring to when the bears overtook the malicious Duke while he was attending a show in town.
I won’t give you any quotes from the actual text, though I will hint to you that I love the description of ghosts in the very beginning. I recommend this book. It was endearing and entertaining.

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