Cover image for The girl who lived with the bears
The girl who lived with the bears
Goldin, Barbara Diamond.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
San Diego : Harcourt Brace, [1997]

Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : illustrations color ; 26 cm
In this retelling of a traditional tale of the Pacific Northwest, a young girl is captured by the Bear People after insulting them.
General Note:
"Gulliver books."
Reading Level:
670 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 4.3 0.5 14414.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
E78.N77 G64 1997 Juvenile Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



When a chief's spoiled young daughter sets out to collect berries, she sees no reason to sing bear songs like her friends do--why should she honor the creatures of the forest? This traditional Native American tale from the Pacific Northwest offers a compelling lesson of tolerance and respect for the natural world. "A graceful and poignant retelling."-- Publishers Weekly

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 4^-6, younger for reading aloud. While picking wild berries, a haughty young woman, the daughter of a chief, insults the bear people more than once. This leads to her being taken captive and held as a slave. She eventually proves her worth, comes to love a man of the tribe, and gives birth to bear children. This retelling of a popular folktale of the native people of the Pacific Northwest involves details of everyday village life, mythical transformation, and the traditional transmittal of sacred customs, songs, and ceremonies. Goldin includes notes regarding changes made to the story and references to other sources. Some readers will be particularly interested in Plewes' illustrations, which convey a fine sense of place and of traditional clothing. --Karen Morgan

Publisher's Weekly Review

In this Native American myth from the Pacific Northwest, a girl's abduction by bears teaches her and her people respect for animals. While picking berries, the chief's spoiled daughter complains bitterly of the bears who have trampled her woodland paths into mud. Soon, two young men appear, ostensibly to help her carry her basket, but they lead her away to an unfamiliar village. There, she is imprisoned by the bear people, who lead double lives as beasts and as humans. A marriage is arranged between the girl and one of her captors, and in time she grows to love her mate and his ways. When she is finally returned to her home, it is with divided emotions and increased understanding of the bond between people and the natural world. Details of Native American life‘the contents of a wedding feast, the process of drying salmon‘subtly ground the fantasy elements. An intriguing final note reveals different versions of this tale, affording a personal glimpse into the choices Goldin (Coyote and the Fire Stick) faced in her retelling. Plewe's debut illustrations range from ethereal air-brushed suggestions of spirits in clouds and smoke to the warm, earthy textures of acrylic paints in landscape and bear fur. A graceful and poignant retelling. Ages 5-9. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 2-5‘One of the most important tales, culturally, of the Northwest Coast Indians, this retelling tells of a proud and haughty girl who was kidnapped by bears. Mouse Woman helps her fool them into thinking that she can create copper from her body, and she marries a bear man whom she eventually learns to love. She gives birth to twin sons who are able to be either bear or human. When her brother tracks her down, her husband volunteers to let himself be slain if the woman and her children will honor bears forever. Thus, the Bear Clan came into being. The illustrations are full-color paintings in glowing autumnal tones, done in acrylics and airbrush on canvas, both single and double-page spreads, as well as a few black-and-white drawings. The artist has captured the splendor of the scenery, and presents historically accurate details of the story's setting. In an afterword, Goldin gives a full accounting of the tale and its importance in teaching reverence for animals, although she doesn't mention that she has removed some of the scatological details of the story as it is printed in Bill Reid and Robert Bringhurst's The Raven Steals the Light (University of Washington Press, 1984). The story has much of the same appeal as Rafe Martin's Rough-Face Girl (Putnam, 1992), although it lacks that book's happy ending.‘Pam Gosner, formerly at Maplewood Memorial Library, NJ (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.