Tag Archives: Bibi Dumon Tak

Mikis and the Donkey

Mikis and the Donkey 
by Bibi Dumon Tak
Eerdman’s Books for Young Readers, 2015
Mildred L. Batchelder Award

I could not put this book down, even when I should have been working!

Mikis’ grandfather buys a donkey to help carry wood down from the mountain for the winter.  Little Mikis soon befriends the donkey.  When grandfather ‘overworks’ and injures the donkey, Mikis goes directly to the doctor for help—on a Sunday!  By Monday everyone on the tiny Greek island knows about Mikis’ ‘unheard of’ actions.  He informs his grandfather that the doctor orders no work for the donkey for one week.  He is soon called the Donkey boy, because he loves the donkey.  Other subplots blended into the story results in an endearing book.

It recently won the American Library Association’s 2015 Mildred L. Batchelder Award.  The reason I read it, however, was I heard it was selling much faster than they expected and they were about to make a second printing.  As I suspected, fast-selling books are often the best, and this one is that. A perfect gift book, a perfect read.

The book is translated from the Netherlands.

Read more reviews on Amazon.

Soldier Bear

Soldier Bear
Bibi Dumon Tak, illustrated by Philip Hopman
Eerdmans Children’s Books, 2008

A bear named Voytek, meaning ‘smiling warrior’ in Polish, was found and adopted by five Polish soldiers serving in the British Corps during World War II. Based on a true story, the bear soon becomes their beloved pet. The men convince their Commanding Officer to make him Private Voytek, a member of the Corps. Voytek improves the morale of all the men, bringing laughter to an otherwise dismal time. Near the front lines, Voytek steps up to help unload bombs. Voytek becomes a hero when he captures a spy and when he convinces a new CO to send him, as part of the transportation unit, to the front lines. A remarkable story.

Netherlands author Bibi Dumon Tak brilliantly places the story in the life and death realities of a war and tells it in a way children can accept. This is the kind of story that stays with you long after the last page is read.

Soldier Bear won the 2012 Batchelder Award, an award given to a translated children’s book.

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