Author: Mirra Ginsburg
Genre: Folktale / Manners / Hungary / Trickery / Animals
Year Published: 1976
Year Read: 2015
Content Rating: Ages 3+ (Some Fight Scenes)
I have read many folktales from around the world, but I rarely read folktales that came from Hungary! “Two Greedy Bears” by Mirra Ginsburg along with illustrations by Jose Aruego and Ariane Dewey seems like a familiar story that I had heard of many times before, but I have never actually read the actual tale of this lesson. Well, now this is the first time I had read the original tale and I loved it!
The book starts off with two young bear cubs running outside to see the world until they stumbled upon a brook. Both of the bear cubs wanted to drink out of the brook, but when one of them replies that he is thirsty, the other one replied that he is thirstier and this leads to the two bear cubs trying to outdo each other by seeing who could drink the most water from the brook. The bear cubs drank so much water from the brook that they ended up having huge stomachaches and they had to sleep it off until the next morning. When the bear cubs felt better the next morning, they continued to explore the world until they found a large round of cheese lying on the ground. The bear cubs wanted to divide the cheese among themselves, they could not figure out a way to divide the cheese equally. So, they started to fight each other until a fox came by and wanted to help the bear cubs divide the cheese.
Will the fox help the bear cubs divide the cheese?
Read this book to find out!
I was seriously amazed at how Mirra Ginsburg made the story as simplistic as possible, while still delivering the message about how becoming greedy can come with its own consequences. Now even though I had read many folktales that dealt with the consequences of greed, this book was quite unique as it showed more about what happens if you let greed get to you, rather than outright telling the reader that greed is never a good thing. I also thought that it was quite hilarious and creative at what happens at the end of this book (I will not spoil it for anyone who has not read this book yet) as I found myself laughing at how the fox solved this dilemma between the bear cubs! Jose Aruego and Ariane Dewey’s artwork were truly cute to look at as the two bear cubs had different shades of color as one was brown and the other was yellow as it helps the reader tell them apart. I also loved the fact that the bear cubs were round and fluffy as it shows how innocent they are and yet, they do not understand about greed and therefore they get themselves into trouble whenever their greed gets the best of them.
Overall, “Two Greedy Bears” is a truly fantastic book for children who wants to learn about the consequences of greed and wants to read a folktale that comes from Hungary! I would recommend this book to children ages three and up since there is nothing inappropriate in this book.