The Woman Who Married a Bear.


40 pages
ISBN 978-1-894965-49-1
DDC j398.209711'0452978





Illustrations by Atanas
Reviewed by Gregory Bryan

Gregory Bryan is a member of the Faculty of Education at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg.


Elizabeth James’ retelling of a Haida First Nation legend in The Woman Who Married a Bear,is a delightful rendition that is sure to appeal to readers of all ages. The story is a simple, yet lovely, one in which a young woman undergoes a physical and spiritual transformation after she is captured and adopted by a bear clan. James writes in an understated, respectful manner that seems true to the oral traditions of First Nation People.


Atanas Matsoureff’s illustrations are nothing short of breathtaking. His first book was the beautiful, The Lost Island, but he takes his craft to an even higher level in this lovely book. The artwork is heavily textured and very detailed. These elements add realism to the supernatural story, creating a well-balanced book that makes it easy for the reader to suspend disbelief and accept the possibility of the incredible. The soft colour palette employed for the artwork compliments James’ understated writing style, and words and paintings complement and extend one another.


This book is a “must have” for all Canadians with an interest in literature for children. The Woman Who Married a Bear is one of the best picture books I have read in a long, long time.

Highly Recommended



James, Elizabeth., “The Woman Who Married a Bear.,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 16, 2024,