This is the haunting and thought provoking story of the sad life and eventual rescue of a dancing bear in Turkey Poached from her natural home as a cub and forced to endure a life of close confinement and abuse, the bear must dance every day in the marketplace to earn money for her owner One day, an old man offers to buy the bear, to set her free to a life of peace on his wooded property At first, the bear s owner and the marketplace visitors mock the old man for wanting to waste his little money on a bear But the old man s sincere kindness sets in motion a profound change in the bear s cruel owner, suggesting that even the hardest hearts can turn The Deliverance of Dancing Bears not only presents the unfortunately real plight of dancing bears, it also suggests that cruel traditions can change. I liked the illustrations and much of the story once it got a little less depressing after the old man saves the first bear However the note at the end depressed me It seemed to lay all the blame for the plight of dancing bears at the feet of the Turkish Gypsies not acknowledging the place of instability that the Roma of Europe face in dealing with other ethnic groups Nor acknowledging that if no one is paying to watch, then the bears wouldn t be forced to dance. The Deliverance of Dancing Bears is a beautifully illustrated contemporary fable about a dancing bear whose dreams of freedom keep her spirit alive despite the pain and degradation of her existence Into this setting comes a noble minded peasant who liberates the bear and reminds onlookers that the dignity of all living creatures must be respected This is a book for young philosophers whose emerging awareness of the complexity of life is leading them to consider some of its great universals good and evil, power and impotence, freedom and captivity This award winning story begins with the power of hope and ends with the challenge of liberation.