Jasper’s Story: Saving Moon Bears

Book Review

Jasper’s Story: Saving Moon Bears

Authors: Jill Robinson and Marc Bekoff
Illustrator: Gijsbert van Frankenhuyzen
Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press

Jasper’s Story: Saving the Moon Bears is a beautifully illustrated children’s book based on the true story of an Asian black bear (also called a moon bear) named Jasper. Moon bears are so called for the pale yellow crescent moons that appear on their chests, an “echo” of the moon’s light. Jasper was rescued from cruelty at the hands of “bear farmers” who kept him in a small cage for 15 years while they harvested his bile for Chinese herbal medicine. This book serves as a source of general information on the plight of bears in East Asia, an issue that students may not be aware of in North America.
Authors Jill Robinson and Marc Brekoff run the Moon Bear Rescue Centre, and Jasper’s story is a first-hand account of helping Jasper recover and become happy and healthy again. The story is heartfelt and written with honesty and frankness with regards to the conditions found in most bear farms in China. Illustrator Gijsbert van Frankenhuyzen also spent time at the Moon Bear Rescue Centre and fills the book with stunning canvas paintings, especially of the bears themselves.
This picture book is a good supplement for early social studies classes, and does an excellent job of bringing to light social and animal rights issues outside of one’s local environment, encouraging interest and involvement in global issues and initiatives.

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