There are no polar bears left on Bear Island. At least, that’s what April’s father tells her when his scientific research takes them to this remote Arctic outpost for six months. But one endless summer night, April meets one. He is starving, lonely and a long way from home. Determined to save him, April begins the most important journey of her life…
Genre: Children and Teenage/ Fiction/ Middle Grade
Age appropriate: 8+
Number of Pages: 304 pages
Date of Publication: 18/02/2021
This book was written by Hannah Gold who is passionate about writing stories which share her love for the planet. The story has been illustrated by Levi Pinfold.
Published by Harper Collins
What a great book to choose for a review on World Book Day. The Last Bear is just the perfect book for middle grade children to read but also great for adults. April is an eleven-year-old girl who loves animals and she knows she is different from other children. She lives with her father who barely acknowledges her as he is grieving the death of his wife that happened seven years ago. When April’s dad accepted to go and work in the Arctic she thought that spending time with him would bring them closer together. Soon she realizes that they are not alone on Bear Island and before long April finds herself living an adventure.
This is a beautiful, heart-warming and powerful story where there are just so many important messages. I absolutely loved April’s strong personality and the friendship that she developed with Bear which was beautiful written exploring how humans need a different way of communicating with animals as they see the world in a different way. Bear understood April as they both had dealt with loss of their families. One phrase that really stood out from the book was ‘Just because you couldn’t see emotions in their faces didn’t mean they couldn’t feel it’. Bear just wanted to be with other polar bears but he couldn’t get off of the Island due to the melting ice caps. His only hope was to get to Svalbard but he couldn’t do it by himself and April wanted to help as she couldn’t leave him on Bear Island because her love for Bear was like no other.
There are so many facts throughout the story which is important for children and everyone to know. It is clear that the author researched the elements she wanted to include very well to have facts and details like how Bear Island dated back to 1596, how the weather in the Arctic affects the whole planet plus so many other incredible facts that everyone should know. This book goes beyond fiction and storytelling and into showing us what is happening to the planet and also how to understand loss and grief in a very profound way.
I just couldn’t put the book down once I had started. I’m still thinking about it and admiring the gorgeous cover and illustrations. The art work and design of this wonderful book is also excellent and very eye catching.
Availability: The book is available in all good bookshops. I got my copy from Blackwell’s.