The Bear

By Claire Cameron

ISBN# 9780316230124

Author’s Website:

Brought to you by OBS staff member Andra 


A powerfully suspenseful story narrated by a young girl who must fend for herself and her little brother after a brutal bear attack.

While camping with her family on a remote island, five-year-old Anna awakes in the night to the sound of her mother screaming. A rogue black bear, 300 pounds of fury, is attacking the family’s campsite, pouncing on her parents as prey.

At her dying mother’s faint urging, Anna manages to get her brother into the family’s canoe and paddle away. But when the canoe dumps the two children on the edge of the woods, and the sister and brother must battle hunger, the elements, and a dangerous wilderness, we see Anna’s heartbreaking love for her family–and her struggle to be brave when nothing in her world seems safe anymore.

Told in the honest, raw voice of five-year-old Anna, this is a riveting story of love, courage, and survival.


In October of 1991, a pair of campers was attacked by a bear in Algonquin Park, Ontario, Canada.

“There is no clear reason for what happened, other than a hungry bear decided to take a chance on a new source of food.”

The author, Cameron, was a counsellor at a summer camp at Algonquin that year as well.

“The Bear is based on my memories of and research into this bear attack. I added the kids.”

This read was as a result of a recommendation for a monthly book club I belong to, not a book I would generally pick up to read.  However, I am glad that I did.

I must say this is a first for me…..reading a book written from the perspective of a 5 year old with the content so serious as a bear attack.  It was a bit of an adjustment but once that happened, I really enjoyed the storytelling.  I was right there with Anna, felt as if I had lived the experience.

From the perspective of a child, time passes more slowly and I felt this aspect of the story-telling was captured very well, given that the whole time frame was relatively short. The read is a running commentary of what Anna is thinking in her young world view, given that she is not totally aware of the grave danger that she and her brother Alex “Stick” are in. The disjointed running commentary is so believable, while the level of detail may be a bit of a stretch.

As I read the book, I was totally engaged to the point of NOT wanting to put the book down for mundane life (like sleep) and at the same time, not wanting to read as the events were frightening (especially having recently experienced my own close encounter with a bear at a campsite in British Columbia last summer).

In the latter part of the story, I felt that the new way of life with the children’s grandpa did not flow as well.

Overall, this book provided for lively discussions at the monthly book club meeting.  Not all readers enjoyed this book, nor finished it.  However, this reader did finish and enjoyed the book.