The Last Bear

Written by Hannah Gold, Illustrated by Kate Slater

April’s father takes a job doing research on Bear Island in the Arctic Circle. She is told polar bears do not live on the island and haven’t for a long time. Three weeks after their arrival, she spots something white moving in the distance. Could it be? She decides to explore the island and comes face to face with the polar bear. She loves animals and has always preferred them over people and is able to talk to bear about things she can’t tell even her father. Her dad is too busy to notice or even spend time with her and over the next four months, bear takes her on adventures (on his back) and she learns that he is stuck on this island due to the melting polar ice caps. Sensing his loneliness, she comes up with a plan to get him back to his home on Svalbard over 250 miles away by an abandoned boat. April, knowing that her father believes the bear is an imaginary friend, knows she can’t go to him for help, decides to do this on her own. The end is a surprise that will have animal lovers wishing they had a friendship like April and Bear.

I thought this was a really cute story with a great message that you’re never too young to make a difference in the world. I would’ve given it 5 stars, but didn’t like how the father treated April and it was a little un-believable that she could be gone 12+ hours in a day sometimes returning after 11 pm without her father mentioning it or being worried about her.

Reviewed by Jennifer Young, Media Clerk, Woodstock Elementary School Library
Review shared in February 2022
Rating: ★★★★½ (4.5 stars)
Interest Level: Grades 3-5

The Last Bear
Written by Hannah Gold, Illustrated by Kate Slater
Harper, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
280 pages
Release Date: February 2, 2021
ISBN: 9780063041073
A review copy was provided by the publisher.

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