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The Last Bear



by
Hannah Gold

Edition
Hardcover edition
Publisher
HarperCo
Imprint
Harper
ISBN
9780063041073
POTENTIALLY SENSITIVE AREAS
None
$19.56   $16.30
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In this instant literary classic about friendship, forging your own path, and doing what’s right, debut author Hannah Gold inspires fans of Pax and A Wolf Called Wander to make a difference in any way they can.

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 a faraway Arctic outpost.

But one night, April catches a glimpse of something distinctly bear shaped loping across the horizon. A polar bear who shouldn’t be there—who is hungry, lonely and a long way from home.

Fusing environmental awareness with a touching story of kindness, The Last Bear will include full-page black-and-white illustrations as well as a note from the author with facts about the real Bear Island and the plight of the polar bears.Author’s note. Black-and-white illustrations.

POTENTIALLY SENSITIVE AREAS
None

Details

Format

Print

Page Count

288

Trim Size

8 3/10" x 5 1/2"

Dewey

F

AR

5.6: points 6

Genre

Fiction

Scholastic Reading Counts

0

JLG Release

May 2021

Book Genres


Topics

Fathers and daughters. Polar bears. Human-animal relationships. Wildlife conservation. Islands. Arctic regions. Bear Island (Norway). Scientific expeditions. Adventure. Friendship. 

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Praise & Reviews

School Library Journal

Gr 3-5–A novel that immerses the reader headfirst into the cold, bare landscape of the Arctic melting under the effects of climate change. Young April and her scientist father travel to Bear Island for his research. Ironically, no bears are believed to be left. That is, until April catches a glimpse of a malnourished polar bear. They form a friendship as April nurses him back to health. She discovers that he has been stranded on the island for many years and devises a plan to get him home to Svalbard before her time in the North comes to an end. Gold’s debut middle grade novel is a bold, unapologetic look into the devastating effects of climate change and its impact on wildlife. Scientific facts and statistics are seamleassly integrated into the narrative, strengthening the book’s urgent tone. While the themes are clear and compelling, certain plot points remain nebulous, such as how April is able to communicate so well with the bear (a gift briefly tied to her late mother) or how her father seems unconcerned with her wandering the island alone all day. These small details will likely not bother young readers, who will be eager to find out if Bear makes his way home. Sections of the book are divided by gentle black-and-white illustrations that help bring April’s story to life. The author includes a helpful and informative note at the end about the real Bear Island she used as inspiration. VERDICT A fast-paced novel that will awaken or strengthen readers’ concern for their environment and that has the potential to act as a powerful discussion tool in classrooms and book clubs.–Katherine Hickey, Metropolitan Lib. Syst., Oklahoma City

Horn Book

April’s widowed father is a scientist who has taken a temporary job at Bear Island’s weather station, above the Arctic Circle. Her initial hope that moving to a remote location would lead her dad to pay more attention to her quickly disappears when she realize that, just as at home, he will be working all the time. April wants to meet a polar bear on the island, although she knows it’s unlikely, since melting sea ice has kept bears away from the island for some time. Nevertheless, she spends weeks on the lookout for bears—and she does find one, trapped and injured by garbage from the ocean. She feels and immediate connection to the creature, eventually getting close enough to cut off the debris and treat its wound. As her relationship with her father becomes more strained, she grows closer to the bear. After she figures out how it became trapped on the island (the bear doesn’t speak, but April is able to understand it on an emotional level), she decides to take it home to Svalbard, more than two hundred miles of open ocean away. Gold has an ear for descriptive language (“April could feel the power of it, the way sound travels invisibly through the air and shifts the membrane of the universe somehow”), and the close narration of April’s story keeps readers intimately engaged. The book’s environmental message is clear without being overpowering, and the combination of internal and external conflicts allows the story to be quiet and dramatic at the same time. SARAH RETTGER

Praise & Reviews

School Library Journal

Gr 3-5–A novel that immerses the reader headfirst into the cold, bare landscape of the Arctic melting under the effects of climate change. Young April and her scientist father travel to Bear Island for his research. Ironically, no bears are believed to be left. That is, until April catches a glimpse of a malnourished polar bear. They form a friendship as April nurses him back to health. She discovers that he has been stranded on the island for many years and devises a plan to get him home to Svalbard before her time in the North comes to an end. Gold’s debut middle grade novel is a bold, unapologetic look into the devastating effects of climate change and its impact on wildlife. Scientific facts and statistics are seamleassly integrated into the narrative, strengthening the book’s urgent tone. While the themes are clear and compelling, certain plot points remain nebulous, such as how April is able to communicate so well with the bear (a gift briefly tied to her late mother) or how her father seems unconcerned with her wandering the island alone all day. These small details will likely not bother young readers, who will be eager to find out if Bear makes his way home. Sections of the book are divided by gentle black-and-white illustrations that help bring April’s story to life. The author includes a helpful and informative note at the end about the real Bear Island she used as inspiration. VERDICT A fast-paced novel that will awaken or strengthen readers’ concern for their environment and that has the potential to act as a powerful discussion tool in classrooms and book clubs.–Katherine Hickey, Metropolitan Lib. Syst., Oklahoma City

Horn Book

April’s widowed father is a scientist who has taken a temporary job at Bear Island’s weather station, above the Arctic Circle. Her initial hope that moving to a remote location would lead her dad to pay more attention to her quickly disappears when she realize that, just as at home, he will be working all the time. April wants to meet a polar bear on the island, although she knows it’s unlikely, since melting sea ice has kept bears away from the island for some time. Nevertheless, she spends weeks on the lookout for bears—and she does find one, trapped and injured by garbage from the ocean. She feels and immediate connection to the creature, eventually getting close enough to cut off the debris and treat its wound. As her relationship with her father becomes more strained, she grows closer to the bear. After she figures out how it became trapped on the island (the bear doesn’t speak, but April is able to understand it on an emotional level), she decides to take it home to Svalbard, more than two hundred miles of open ocean away. Gold has an ear for descriptive language (“April could feel the power of it, the way sound travels invisibly through the air and shifts the membrane of the universe somehow”), and the close narration of April’s story keeps readers intimately engaged. The book’s environmental message is clear without being overpowering, and the combination of internal and external conflicts allows the story to be quiet and dramatic at the same time. SARAH RETTGER

Grades 3-5
Intermediate Readers
For Grades 3-5

A wide variety of novels and accessible nonfiction for younger elementary readers who love a good story comprise this category of 12 books per year. The focus in these titles is primarily on the text, though some novels may feature illustration.

12 books per Year
$195.60 per Year
Interests
Chapter Books,Fiction,Transitional Readers
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Grades 3-5
Intermediate Readers
12 books per Year
$195.60 per Year

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