This is one book I've had for many years, but it wore out, so I got a new copy, because I enjoy the story so much. It is a well written story about a seemingly unlikely and impossible relationship between a boy and a bear, and what's great is that the author doesn't "Disney-ize" the story, for there is also tragedy as well as the lighter moments. I especially enjoyed the way the author made his characters so convining and real, from the despicable and loathsome Fog Benson to the affectionate yet firm Mike Kelly. It is also a refreshing story in that Mark, the boy, also learns what it means to have a great responsibilty in having a bear. The author does a great job in portraying right as right, and wrong as wrong, yet isn't "preachy" about it. It's a book you can't put down the first time you read it. It is one of my favorite works of fiction, and though I am now an adult, I still enjoy reading this book. It's one I highly recommend for all to read.