Summers with the Bears

Jack Becklund

Summers with the Bears.

“Clearly, Little Bit's sensitive nature had allowed her cub to get the upper hand. When she clunked deep in her throat (as bears do to call their cubs), he ignored her. Instead of her leading little Miracle through the woods, it was she who followed him. When male bears threatened, she retreated. Sometimes, she even climbed a tree right behind her cub. Compared to other mother bears we had met and observed, she was meek and uncertain. In spite of these qualities, or perhaps because of them, she was always our special bear.”

Doubtless, you can tell why your writer chose the book for this month's review! Summers With the Bears is the story of Jack and Patti Becklund's six-year stay in the north woods of Minnesota, and the bears they encountered there. When they decided to start watching the bears, they used the same sort of methods that Dr. Rogers uses: observe quietly what the bears do and learn from them. Though not trained biologists, the Becklunds amassed considerable data on bear behavior and diet, as well as reactions to humans and other bears.

“In contrast to Little Bit's difficulties, Big Mama had the control of a drill sergeant over her brood. Just at dark every evening, she would bring them up on the deck for about five minutes, then take them to a nearby tree and send them scampering up by standing at the base of the trunk on her hind legs and slapping it with her front paws. Then she'd return alone for a leisurely snack of her own.”

Living in black bear country brought the Becklunds countless hours of enjoyment as they interacted with Little Bit and Big Mama and all the other bears they encountered. As they made friends with the bears, they came to realize that the relationship they shared with the bears was the most unusual, and rewarding, relationship of their lives. Jack and Patti and the bears bonded in the way that good friends do – hesitantly at first, then confidently and enthusiastically. Summers with the Bears is a shining testament to the possibilities of friendship – be sure to read all about it.

Copyright 2008, S. Halversen.
All Rights Reserved.