Sunday, November 9, 2014

Temmi and the flying bears by Stephen Elboz

Temmi and the Flying bears is long out of print but you may find a copy in your school library. Luckily, even though our copy is very old, the original printing was on lovely white paper of a good quality and so this book has not turned 'yellow' as have so many of our older paperback books.

Temmi and the Flying bears is a book I first read in 1998 and ever since it is a title I recommend to our Grade 3 and 4 students who like a fantasy story.  Last night I thought it was probably time to revisit this book just to check my memory of the plot and storytelling.  This little book did not disappoint.  Temmi and the flying bears is a terrific fantasy adventure.  It is very short at only 126 pages and has quite large printing so it is perfect for younger readers who are just beginning to develop their reading stamina.

Temmi lives near a colony of flying bears.  He has a very special relationship with them and especially with Cush the last cub born that season.  One day some soldiers arrive from the queen. They have been commanded to capture a bear for the princess.  Temmi is distraught.  He must save his precious bears.  The soliders surround the village with fierce wolves.  By the time Temmi reaches the distant forest Pasha, the mother of Cush, lies dead on the snow.  Temmi is determined to save Cush and so he follows the men and their evil leader Tin Nose.  In the skirmish Cush is injured and so Temmi is allowed to travel with the group to the castle of the white witch.

"The castle was a jewel set in gardens of perfect snow, and was quite unlike any building he had every seen before - or any building he had ever imagined possible.  Built entirely from a single block of ice, it resembled a gigantic quartz crystal - that is to say, like an explosion of water that instantly freezes."

Haggoth, Witch-Queen of the High Witchlands, is dying.  Cush is a gift for her spoilt daughter Princess Agna.  Temmi needs to befriend this cold girl so he can secure freedom for himself and Cush.  He can not know that an odd group of dwarfs will become is truest allies.  My favourite scene comes as our band of brave friends flee the castle.  The covering of snow means they can be easily seen so Agna summons a herd of reindeer who surround them as they cross the open field.

I am very happy to keep recommending Temmi and the Flying bears to my students.  There is a sequel called Temmi and the frost dragon and here is a little video of Stephen Elboz talking about another of his books. Listen to an audio sample from the book here.

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