Tunes for Bears to Dance To

Book review by
Monica Wyatt, Common Sense Media
Tunes for Bears to Dance To Book Poster Image
Compelling, simple story with an emotional wallop.

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 5 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Positive Messages

The villain despises people of all races and ethnic backgrounds different from his own. The main character briefly succumbs to evil but redeems himself.


The main character has a brief fight with another boy, and readers learn that the villain beats his daughter. Mr. Hairston forces Henry to choose between committing an evil act or losing his family's entire income.


Mr. Hairston constantly uses words disparaging to ethnic groups.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this compelling, simple story carries an emotional wallop, keeping kids interested with simple and stark but effective writing. This beautifully written novel will give you and your children a lot to think and talk about.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bycanash12 July 15, 2015


This book was a required reading by school. I think it has a lot of content to deal with that someone, under the age of 14, may have trouble processing. (raci... Continue reading
Adult Written bytailz April 9, 2008


I was flipping through the pages REALLY fast when I was reading this one. It's short, but very compelling.
Teen, 14 years old Written byEnglishPenguin December 15, 2016

It's a short book, but it will stay with you.

Robert Cormer's writing is always a little dark and dreary, with some typical scenarios (dead brother, new kid at school, ect.) but his characters are alwa... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written bydesi564 February 5, 2011
Im 12 and i do nut like reading but this was a fantastic book!! i Really enjoyed reading this book! easy book project to!!

What's the story?

After World War II, Henry's father cannot work, and his mother scratches out a living as a waitress. The boy's prejudiced employer tells Henry to destroy an art project created by an elderly Holocaust survivor, or else he will fire Henry and have his mother fired. Henry must learn how to fight the evil man in this short but compelling morality tale.

Is it any good?

Robert Cormier's simplest book tackles his major theme, evil, with an easy story suitable for readers younger than his usual audience. The brevity of the story helps intensify its impact on readers.

This beautifully written novel will give you and your children a lot to think and talk about. It is short enough that it doesn't intimidate most reluctant readers, and tells a story compelling enough to interest adults. It's an excellent introduction to Cormier's longer and more difficult works.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the notion of evil. In what forms does evil appear in the story? How are these evils combated?

Book details

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