Dreaming the Bear is a beautifully lyrical novel from Mimi Thebo.
Thebo’s atmospheric chapter book, for readers aged 9+, is told from the point of view of Darcy. From the opening pages we know that she has been ill recently.
‘my lungs are used to being at sea level and I’m living at 7,000 feet above it. That’s one of the reasons I got pneumonia in the first place.’
We witness her fighting against her own body as she desperately attempts to climb a steep hill, in order to reach comfort and shelter from the harsh, cold weather in a cave … alongside a huge grizzly bear.
Darcy’s family have relocated from the city to Yellowstone National Park. Up high in the mountains they are learning to adapt to a different way of life. Darcy’s recent illness has worried everyone, but the DR insists on regular exercise and that’s how she discovers her bear. He’s injured. He;s coming out of hibernation and needs urgent help. But. Bears and humans don’t mix. Or do they?
Thebo weaves Darcy’s struggle to keep her bear alive, with her own health battle. Her recovery from pneumonia is slow very slow – hampered by a huge snow storm which forces Darcy’s family to take camp in just one room of their house until it passes.
Then there’s the other side to Darcy’s illness;
‘I get the far-away thing again, where I’m kind of outside me and looking down. Like I’m up somewhere civilised, like a space station, and I’m zooming in on earth and America and Montana’
Darcy must fight her illness in order to fight for the bear, whilst her family try to discover what’s really behind her lethargic, dream like state.
Dreaming the Bear is wonderfully written chapter book. Mimi Thebo has created an atmospheric, with great pace and wonderful characters.