I probably would have been the perfect kid to read Brian Jacques’ Redwall series. It’s about a fantasy kingdom of animals. It would have been right up my alley. But, alas, I didn’t read them.

So, when I came upon this picture book, I thought it was worth looking at. Urso Brunov translates to brown bear, doesn’t it? 

I really loved the idea behind this story! Urso is the Little Father of All Bears, specifically the Brunov tribe, who live far, far away where earth meets sky, beyond the silent mountains, across lonely windswept plains, in the high forests (Russia?). This tribe is very hard to find because a Brunov Bear is only the size of your thumb!

This great story has all the trappings of a traditional folk tale. Urso is the guardian over his tribe, and is wise, strong and clever. The littler bears don’t always listen to him though. They want to go south for the winter and get bearnapped! Urso must travel far to find his little bears. Along the way he finds many animals who have had a loved one taken by the same hunters. He promises to free all the animals, and always says, “Believe me, for I am Urso Brunov!” The animals are trapped within a place with a lightning flash and two cartwheels.

Okay, I thought that was clever! I was really expecting some grand and foreboding fortress, but it’s a handwritten sign…too funny!

Urso is wise, and strong and clever so it isn’t hard to believe he is able to quickly overcome the humans.  He rescues all the animals, brings them back to their families and brings the little bears home. He doesn’t even punish them. What an awesome guy.

I am…the strongest, cleverest, bravest, fiercest bear that ever lived. And the most modest, too. Believe me, for I am Urso Brunov!

I was very excited to see there is at least one more book about Urso:

I am hoping it’s in print, and if it isn’t I will definitely be buying it used.

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