Friday, July 30, 2010
Italy-based writer and book-blogger Mari Juniper recently posted a review of The Ainu and the Bear~the Gift of the Cycle of Life on her website.
She calls the book "a valuable lesson for all of us, children and adults equally, as it teaches us to respect the food we ingest. Being carnivorous, omnivorous or vegetarian, everything we ingest, industrially processed or not, contains the vital energy of another living being."
Mari adds that she "found particularly compelling the description of the boy's feelings throughout the bear's life, especially when he witnesses her demise. It is soothing to see how he learns to deal with these feelings while interacting with nature in a positive and respectful manner."
But she does include a warning that the book might not be suitable for all young readers: "I gave the book to a ten-year-old English girl to read, fearing that she wouldn't finish it. I was surprised to know that she liked it, although she felt sorry for the bear when it was ritualistically sent home. I believe the book's lesson is so true that it resonates with a deeper part of us, which is why the girl accepted the difficult elements of the story so well [...] I would recommend this book to every parent who wants to raise a highly aware human being. However, I wouldn't recommend it to an unprepared child. My reader is not a common ten-year-old girl, being very mature for her age. I'd suggest that the parents read the book first, take some time to digest it and then read it with their kids. "
You can read Mari's review in its entirety at Mari's Randomities.
For more reviews of The Ainu and the Bear, check out these posts: Melissa Kennedy (New Zealand) and Sakamoto Kazuaki (Japan)