The Bears' Famous Invasion of Sicily

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The Famous Bears Invasion of Sicily
La famosa invasione degli orsi in Sicilia.jpg
Author Dino Buzzati
Original title La famosa invasione degli orsi in Siciia
Translator Frances Lobb
Illustrator Dino Buzzati
Cover artist Dino Buzzati
Country Italy
Language Italian (also in English translation)
Genre Children’s fiction
Publisher Rizzoli, Milano
Publication date
Media type Print (Hardback & Paperback)
ISBN ISBN 0-06-072608-3 (2005 edition in English)
OCLC 55634012
LC Class PZ8.B965 Be 2005

La famosa invasione degli orsi in Sicilia is an Italian children’s book written and illustrated by Dino Buzzati which was translated into English by Frances Lobb as The Bears’ Famous Invasion of Sicily.

The American hardcover edition was published by HarperCollins in 2003 and the paperback was published in 2005, also by HarperCollins and The New York Review Children's Collection. The paperback version has an Introduction and Reader's Companion by well-known author of A Series of Unfortunate Events, Lemony Snicket.


The Bears' Famous Invasion of Sicily is the story of a group of bears living in the mountains on the island of Sicily. One year, a harsh winter descends upon them, eliminating the majority of their food sources. Driven by hunger, the bears descend the mountain to avoid starvation. The bear king, Leander, also has a personal motive for going: years ago, humans kidnapped his son Tony, and he is determined to get him back.

Upon being seen, the Grand Duke of Sicily starts a military campaign against the bears. Their valour is no match against the humans' technology, but when the bears proceed against the capital city, the bear Marzipan builds ladders, catapults and a cannon. The bears are victorious.

King Leander's son, Tony, is found performing in the capital's theater, and is happily reunited with his father. King Leander now rules over Sicily, with bears and humans peacefully coexisting in the city. However, to King Leander's dislike, his bears lose their innocence and adopt human habits.

The situation deteriorates when the King's Chanberlain, bear Salpetre establishes a gambling den, robs the treasury, and organizes orgies. His final grab to take power by killing the king is, however, prevented by bear Dandilion. On his death-bed, King Leander orders his bears to denounce all human ways, and return into the mountains to their former life. They are to leave the riches behind, to find again peace of mind.

Book Format[edit]

The Bears' Famous Invasion of Sicily is written in novel format, with a great deal of poetry and illustrations as well.

In the English edition, Lemony Snicket has written a Reader's Companion that sums up each chapter, provides some interesting questions for the reader to think about, and an interesting activity to go along with each chapter.