The Look-Off Bear: Stories of the Outdoors


150 pages
ISBN 0-07-077630-X






Rosalie I. Tennison is Editor of Communicator Magazine.


Jack Dowell is an experienced woodsman and a lover of nature. In The Look-Off Beat a selection of recounted adventures, Dowell subtly demonstrates his knowledge of the wild. The book offers a variety of long and short, humorous and serious tales of Dowell’s experiences with nature. This Lancelot Press edition of The Look-Off Bear is a reprint of the original 1974 edition. In those ten years the stories have continued to remain fresh and entertaining.

The title story is full of humor, but it also points out the dangers of caging wild animals. Some of the stories, such as “The Night the Rabbits Danced” and “The Call of the Tame,” offer a look at habits of wild animals that few people ever see. “The River That Ran Backward” is the account of a failed fishing trip, but it also illustrates the fact that every woodsman faces danger when leaving civilization to hunt or fish.

Dowell admits in his preface that he was fascinated by the writing of Ernest Thompson Seton, and the Seton influence comes through in some of these stories. Like Seton’s books this collection of stories is good read-aloud, bedtime reading. The stories are interesting and entertaining, but nothing in them makes them stand above other writing in the same style. The Look-Off Bear is not outstanding but it is also not forgettable, which is why it has not become dated in the decade since it was first published.


Dowell, Jack, “The Look-Off Bear: Stories of the Outdoors,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 14, 2024,