A young girl undertakes a magical journey as she is working on a school report about polar bears.
Picture book, fiction
Interest level: K-3; Reading level: 1.2
YHBA picture book nominee, 2017-2018
5 out of 5 stars
The book opens with a young girl who is hurries through a book report on polar bears so she can watch TV. She writes three things: they are big; they eat things; they are mean.
Suddenly, a polar bear is crowded onto a chair in her living room. He informs her, “We’re not all mean.” Thus begins a wonderful excursion where Sophie visits Olafur’s environment and begins to learn that there’s a lot more beauty, excitement, and interesting facts about polar bears than she originally thought.
With sparse text and stunning watercolor and pencil illustrations, Thyra Heder provides a few facts about polar bears, but more importantly she inspires a wonder for more knowledge. The story ends with Sophie actively researching and creating tons of notes and illustrations about polar bears, but I believe that the true magic of this book is that it could be read to young children as an engagement activity to get them interested in their own arctic animal research.
There is a brief Author’s Note in the back that talks about the author’s trip to Iceland and what inspiration she found there. Additionally, many kudos to Abrams for responsibly sourcing the paper for the book!
The Bear Report
by Thyra Heder
Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2015