Wojtek – War Hero Bear written by Jenny Robertson, illustrated by Tim Archbold, publisher BC Books (Birlinn Limited). The book is available NOW in ebook and paperback format.
To buy link: https://amzn.to/2JndZPj
Product Details (as per amazon page)
When a tiny orphaned bear cub is adopted by Polish soldiers during World War II, little does anyone know that little Wojtek will become one of the bravest fighters of them all. As the soldiers train to take part in some of the fiercest fighting of the war, Wojtek grows up, providing headaches and laughter in equal measure as he learns to drink beer, chase horses and wrestle with his human friends. But at Monte Cassino, as the Allies try and dislodge German troops from their mountain-top eyrie, Wojtek, now a fully signed-up solider with his own rank and number, comes into his own, dodging the bullets to carry ammunition to his comrades as they inch their way to victory. After the war, the Polish solders move to Scotland. Wojtek comes too and soon becomes the centre of attention in a new country. But with hostilities ended, how long can he keep his freedom?
I voluntarily reviewed an arc of this book. All opinions are my own and no content may be copied. However, authors and publishers may use elements of my reviews for quotes.
I am so pleased to be involved in the blogtour celebrating this remarkable story of Wojtek – War Hero Bear. Last summer I visited Edinburgh myself and whilst walking through Princes Street Gardens I came across a beautiful commemorative statue of a soldier with a bear and was instantly captivated by this story of humanity and bravery. This is the photo I took of the statue.
I’ve often said that fiction brings history to life and the author Jenny Robertson’s story based on the actual experiences of the Polish soldiers and of their new recruit a little brown bear cub was enchanting, poignant and gave you a little hope and comfort in a very difficult time to many. I found myself charmed by Wojtek and his relationship with Piotr and at times I was overcome with emotion. This story would be wonderful read out aloud to a class of primary aged children learning about WWII. The book also could be read by children aged 9+ and equally could be enjoyed by adults.
Wojtek’s story takes on a different aspect to the horrors of war. This little bear cub lovingly named Wojtek (meaning someone who enjoys a good fight) was to become an essential member of the Polish Army; this army of men of differing ages and backgrounds forced to flee their family and homes. The men had dark moments of the time they left their beloved homeland. The men are now united with the hope of returning home. Wojtek gave them another focus, a sort of light relief and he was definitely a morale booster.
Jenny Robertson’s story touches on friendship, especially finding and accepting new friends through difficult times. We learn of humanity, care and trust. With Jenny Robertson’s words and the wonderful line drawings by Tim Archbold (which I believe fit perfectly for Wojtek rather than cartoon-esque images as Wojtek wasn’t a fictional cartoon creation, he was very real) the story was informative, entertaining, emotive and inspirational. Wojtek will be remembered by many for a long, long time.
About the Author
Jenny Robertson has written numerous books for children and adults – fiction, non-fiction and poetry. Her children’s novels and Bible stories have been widely translated and also read on Yorkshire Television and STV.
Author Blog: https://jennyroberston.com/