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Little Balser and His Bears.

Little Balser and His Bears

Field review by the editors.

Shelbyville, Indiana

Balser Brent ("Little Balser," named for his larger father) was the short, teenage protagonist of The Bears of Blue River, a popular children's novel published in 1901 by Shelbyville resident Charles Major. The book follows Little Balser and his family in pioneer-day Indiana, and recounts his frequent encounters with bears, most of which end up being shot.

In 1929, Shelbyville paid tribute to its author with an Italian-cast bronze statue by Mary Elizabeth Stout. It depicts a stern-looking Little Balser holding aloft Tom and Jerry, two bear cubs that he had turned onto pets. Little Balser had shot and killed both of their parents, and the cubs disappear midway through the book. Given the occasional slim pickins on the pioneer dinner table, the baby bears might have ended up in the Brent family stew pot.

Also see: Men Vs. Bears

Little Balser and His Bears

N. Harrison St., Shelbyville, IN
Midtown. On the north side of the town square, which is at the intersection of Hwy 9/N. Harrison St. and Washington St.
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