Synopsis from HarperCollins:
An instant classic with a bear-sized heart, Hannah Gold’s debut novel is a touching story of kindness, adventure, and forging your own path—perfect for fans of Pax and A Wolf Called Wander.
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.
About: The Last Bear is a middle grade climate change fiction written by Hannah Gold. It will be published on 2/2/2021 by HarperCollins, paperback, 288 pages. The genres are climate change fiction, animals, and middle grade. This book is the author’s debut and it’s intended for readers ages 8 to 12, grades 3 to 7. According to Harper Collins’ website, the company is the second-largest consumer book publisher in the world, originally founded by two bothers, James and John Harper in New York City in 1817 and currently has publishing operations in 18 countries. Please see below for more information about the author and publisher.
My Experience: I started reading The Last Bear on 12/20/2020 and finished it on 12/27/2020 just passed midnight. This book was a fantastic read! As I read for myself, I also read for my daughter as a bedtime story starting wherever I left off. I liked April’s adventures on the island, exploring the beauty of the vast open land hardly ever explored by anyone except the polar bears and Arctic foxes. Nature sounds magnificent by itself and I decided to look up some videos of Svalbard on YouTube to see how it is. I’m surprised to learn that temperatures are collected in such extreme weather and that people can still withstand so much cold. Yes, there are warm layers of clothes but still, it’s cold! I also visited the website from the author’s note. The houses where the scientists stayed to collect weather shocked me even more because all of the snow around it were gone! Melted. I enjoyed the father daughter relationship, though it wasn’t a smooth one, but I guess many fathers are made that way. The friendship between April and Bear was great. I liked how she learned to roar.
This book followed April, 11, told in the third person point of view, as she recounted about how she met Bear 3 weeks after she arrived on Bear Island. Her dad was a scientist and her mom died when she was younger. Due to an assignment about global warming, April’s father was offered a job to do his research for 6 months in the Arctic Circle, specifically, Bear Island. Her dad’s job was often busy and she’s left on her own. Bear Island no longer has Bear because the ice caps have melted. On April’s first day on Bear Island, she thought she saw a glimpse of a polar bear and so her mission was to hunt for him every day and to eventually understand why he’s here.
The Last Bear was well written and a fast paced read. An adventure story filled with nature, animals, and friendship. I will definitely pass this book over to my 9 year old son to read and I do recommend it for you and your children. There seems to be a discrepancy, page 155 indicated that April and Bear explored every nooks and cranny of the island but starting chapter 18, they finally ventured into an area of the island they have never been to before. So technically, they haven’t explored everywhere yet. The final version of the book may be different since this book I’m reading is actually an early copy. This story definitely got me crying. I like the message of doing something, no matter how little to make a change. A book with an important message on climate change and plastic washing up beaches. It’s never too early for children to be educated by this knowledge. I highly recommend everyone to read this book!
Pro: fast paced, page turner, adventures, animals, Arctic Circle, weather, friendship, father daughter relationship
I rate it 5 stars!
About the Author:
Hannah Gold worked in the film and magazine industries before taking time out to pursue her dream of writing. She lives in Lincolnshire with her tortoise, her cat and her husband. (Photo obtained from the author’s website and info obtained from HarperCollins’ website).