#1280 – SPARK AND THE LEAGUE OF URSUS by Robert Repino


Written by Robert Repino
Quirk Books 3/24/2020
216 Pages   Age 9—12

.       .       .       .      .DEBUT MG

Genre:  Middle Grade Book, Fantasy
Themes: Teddy Bear Heroes, Loyalty, Siblings



Toy Story meets Stranger Things
in this epic tale of warrior teddy bears
and the children they protect.

Spark is not your average teddy bear. She’s soft and cuddly, sure, but she’s also a fierce warrior. At night she fulfills her sacred duty: to protect the household from monsters. But Spark’s owner Loretta is growing up and thinks she doesn’t need her old teddy anymore.

When a monster unlike any other descends on the quiet home, everything changes. Children are going missing, and the monster wants Loretta next. Only Spark can stop it. She must call upon the ancient League of Ursus—a secret alliance of teddy bears who are pledged to protect their human friends. Together with an Amazon-princess doll and a timid sock monkey, the bears are all that stands between our world and the one that lies beneath. It will be a heroic chapter in the history of the League . . . if the bears live to tell the tale. (from back cover)

Opening Sentences

“Spark rested her head on Loretta’s chest, with her paw on the girl’s rib cage as it rose and fell with each breath. Loretta’s eyelashes fluttered, tickling Spark’s fuzzy ear. Spark liked it. Teddy bears like her were meant for this. They were meant to stay with their human, their best friend, and watch over them in the darkest hours of the night.”

Why I like Spark and the League of Ursus

Spark and the League of Ursus is a modern-day monster story. The monster, Jakmal, is stealing children from the neighborhood, but only the protective juro understands.

First to go missing is Sofia, a friend of Loretta and her brother Matthew. Unknown to the two kids, they have some determined and skilled protection. Loretta has Spark, a teddy bear she received as a child. Matthew has Sir Reginald, an older bear who first belonged to Matthew’s father. The bears are duty-bound to protect their dusa (their child) from monsters under the bed, in the closet—or anywhere the creep finds a way into the bedroom. Matthew has grown beyond his teddy bear years, so Sir Reginald has been resigned to Matthew’s closet. Sir Reginald and Spark speak daily through the wall using taps. Three taps mean all is well.

On this night, all is not well. Jakmal scratched a portal to enter Loretta’s room. Spark recited the Founder’s code—it gets rid of even the meanest monster—but Jakmal went nowhere. He hung in the corner just as Loretta woke up. She spied him and screamed forcefully, bringing her father to her room. He flipped on the light, which Jakmal does not like. The monster quickly left, but not before putting claw marks on the corner of a movie poster. Her father does not believe Loretta’s monster story. But Spark does.

After Loretta gets up, he goes to the closet to warn Sir Reginald, but he is not there. Nor is Matthew. He disappeared sometime during the darkest hours of the night. Spark calls for a juro, which brings the siblings’ friends’ teddy bears into Spark’s protective group. it also poses as warriors, ready to battle Jakmal “until the final light.” Together, they will fight the monster Jakmal and protect Loretta. Claire does not have a bear; she has an Amazon warrior princess doll. Spark allows the unconventional toy into the juro. He rightly knows the group will need all the help they can muster.

Spark and the League of Ursus will entertain middle grade kids who enjoy animated toy stories, monster stories, and those curious enough to wonder how a teddy bear can fight a monster. We all had a bear when younger; mine was pink and had one eye missing. I have always wondered where that eye went. After reading Spark and the League of Ursus, I now know. (See, mom, there was a monster under my bed!)

Yes, there is fighting, yet the violence will not upset children or parents. There is also subtle humor in this fast-paced story. Jakmal’s world is creatively laid out and will get readers thinking about monsters whenever they spy old castles with drawbridges.

Spark and the League of Ursus will entertain middle grade kids who enjoy animated toy stories, monster stories, and those curious enough to wonder how a teddy bear can fight a monster. We all had a bear when younger; mine was

Spark’s story is cleverly created. The bears must learn how to use Dad’s tools and how to shoot off firecrackers. Compared to Jakmal, all the toys are tiny in comparison, giving Jakmal a great advantage in height, weight, and muscle-capacity. The bears of Ursus do not fret, instead they look for advantages and then exploit those for all they are worth.

There is a small disagreement involving Spark and his mentor Sir Reginald. When the older bear returns, he tries to take command, as he always had, but Spark is not giving up her new position. Spark is coming into her own when she decides to call for a juro. If there is a choice between rescuing Matthew—which Sir Reginald feels duty-bound to do—or protecting Loretta, Spark intends to protect his dusa.

Spark and the League of Ursus is a fun, gently scary story of brave bears most all of us had as kids. The only way to find out all your teddy bear endured to keep you safe, is to read this fast-paced energetic story. Spark and the League of Ursus will not disappoint!

Available at Amazon: Spark and the League of Ursus

SPARK AND THE LEAGUE OF URSUS. Copyright © 2020 by Robert Repino. Published by Quirk Books, Philadelphia, PA.


Copyright © 2020 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved
[663 word count-review only]

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NEXT UP: PB – I GOT YOU A PRESENT! by Mike Erskine-Kellie, Susan McLennan & Cale Atkinson (Kids Can Press )

NEXT UP: PB – I GOT YOU A PRESENT! by Mike Erskine-Kellie, Susan McLennan & Cale Atkinson (Kids Can Press )


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