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Fiction

February 09, 1986|DAVID GRABER

BRUTUS BROWN AND THE GREEN FOREST STATE by Hannelore Bergmeyer (Todd & Honeywell: $6.95). Brutus Brown is a young bear who has lived all his life in a zoo. Eventually he succumbs to the alluring tales of the faraway forest told by Bertha the Thrush, and makes his escape. After a long and tiring trip, Brutus reaches the forest to discover it isn't quite the paradise painted by Bertha.

In fact, it is a society of animals called "Green Forest State," and it mirrors our human one in a variety of amusing--and unflattering--ways. Brutus' benefactor, Peddlar Paddlefoot, is a merchant and landlord who knows how to make money regardless of the direction that political or economic winds blow. He exploits Brutus, too, but at the same time protects him and is honestly fond of our noble savage as he explores a more-or-less free, democratic and capitalistic society occupied by creatures nonetheless bent on self-aggrandizement.

Like Orwell's "Animal Farm," this tale can be enjoyed by older children or adults. The extreme characterizations and barely explained blitz of events in this too-short tale unfortunately detract both from its entertainment value and its social commentary.

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