MG Takes on Thursday

This is my new weekly meme celebrating amazing middle-grade books. I hope others will enjoy taking part in this too!

How to take part:

  • Post a picture of the front cover of a middle-grade book which you have read and would recommend to others with details of the author, illustrator and publisher.
  • Open the book to page 11 and share your favourite sentence. 
  • Write three words to describe the book.
  • Either share why you would recommend this book, or link to your review.

This week, I’m celebrating …

Written by Sophie Anderson
Illustrated by Kathrin Honesta
Published by Usborne

Favourite Sentence from Page 11:

I don’t mind my strength being compared to a bear’s.

This book in three words:


Sophie Anderson is, without doubt, one of my favourite middle-grade authors, and a definite must buy author. I have read all three of her books (The House with Chicken Legs, The Castle of Tangled Magic and this one) and loved them all, but I have to say, The Girl Who Speaks Bear is my favourite.

Yanka’s tale is joyous, magical and everything that’s wonderful about immersing yourself in a truly exceptional story.  It tugged at my heartstrings, made me smile with contentment, tense with excitement, and kept me enveloped in the safest, cosiest bear hug imaginable.  The language is exquisite, with a lyrical quality permeating throughout the narrative, which is steeped in Slavic folklore.  It is, without doubt, one of the most beautiful stories I’ve ever had the privilege to read. 

Yanka was found outside a bear’s cave as a young child and has been raised by her foster mother, Mamochka.  She lives on the edge of The Snow Forest, but as she grows up, she feels more of an affinity for the forest and its creatures, and more of an outsider within her village.  She yearns to discover the roots of her past, so much so that she is compelled to leave her home and begin her journey into the forest to find out who she is and where she truly belongs … a journey that leads to danger, breath-taking revelations and deep-rooted friendships.

I absolutely loved how the storyteller, Anatoly’s folktales are interspersed throughout Yanka’s narrative, separate to the chapters, sprinkling delicious clues to her origins.  The tales are beautiful in their own right, but resonate even more as they reveal a deeper understanding of Yanka’s heritage.  These oral stories within the story really emphasised for me the importance of a nation’s folklore, myths and legends to give readers shared experiences and a connectedness to each other through our shared knowledge of these stories. 

If you have not yet read this one, I would wholeheartedly recommend that you put in on your reading pile: a perfect feel-good read for a cold evening! You can read my full review here.

I’d love if anyone who wants to give this meme a go would comment in the comments box and include a link to your post so I can visit, comment and find some great middle-grade recommendations. If you do create a post and are on Twitter, and would like to share your post, please use the hashtag  #MGTakesOnThursday so I can find it, read it and share it!

3 thoughts on “MG Takes on Thursday

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