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Review: The Girl Who Speaks Bear

Title: The Girl Who Speaks Bear
Author: Sophie Anderson
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy
Page Count: 304
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Date Published: March 3, 2020
You can find it here: Bookshop.org


They call me Yanka the Bear. Not because of where I was found. Only a few people know about that. They call me Yanka the Bear because I am so big and strong.

Discovered in a bear cave as a baby, 12-year-old Yanka dreams of knowing who she really is. Although Yanka is happy at home with her loving foster mother, she feels out of place in the village where the other children mock her for her unusual size and strength.So when Yanka wakes up one morning to find her legs have become bear legs, she knows she has no choice but to leave her village. She has to find somewhere she truly belongs, so she ventures into the Snow Forest with her pet weasel, Mousetrap, in search of the truth about her past.But deep in the forest there are many dangers and Yanka discovers that even the most fantastic stories she grew up hearing are true. And just as she draws close to discovering who she really is, something terrifying happens that could trap her in the forest . . . forever.


Why did I wait so long to read this incredibly charming tale? The Girl Who Speaks Bear is everything I love in a cozy, comforting, escapist middle grade!  A little bit Russian folklore, a little bit magical fantasy, and a whole lot of heart, Sophie Anderson delivers us this special story of belonging, accepting yourself, being different, leaning on others, the beauty of friendship and the bonds of family – both blood and found.

To be enjoyed with a cup of something warm on a cold day between January and March …  simply escape to a world of magical houses with chicken legs, talking creature companions of all kinds, and a girl with a whole lotta gumption. 

Both a love letter to stories and nature, this one is calling all fans of The Bear and the Nightingale series. 


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