TITLE: The Last Bear
AUTHOR: Hannah Gold
PAGE EXTENT: 306
GENRE: Middle Grade
MY RATING: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐️
SOURCE: Received a copy from HarperCollins India in exchange for an honest review.
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…
This moving story will win the hearts of children the world over and show them that no one is too young or insignificant to make a difference. The Last Bear is a celebration of the love between a child and an animal, a battle cry for our world and an irresistible adventure with a heart as big as a bear’s.
Friendships are the sole reason why Middle Grade happens to be one of my favorite genres of all time and when I came across this book featuring an unlikely friendship between a young girl and a wild beast, I KNEW I had to get my hands on a copy! And guess what? Colour me super impressed!
April Wood, our 11-year-old protagonist, spends six months on Bear Island, near the Arctic Circle, with her scientist dad(who happens to be researching polar ice caps and global warming) and befriends a polar bear, OF ALL ANIMALS on the island! This unlikeliest of friendships will carve out a tiny piece of your heart and rest there forever! Trust me, this is one of those friendships that will make you giggle and smile and laugh and shiver and sniffle and sob and beam with pride!
Whilst having a gem of a friendship at the centre of its pulsating heart, this book is an extremely necessary reminder about climate change and its hazards, if not addressed soon. This book incorporates themes of global warming and climate change and how they impact the lives of not just humans, but of animals as well and ensures that every child who reads this book will take a small step towards making our planet a better place. Little drops of water make a mighty ocean, don’t they?
And did you know that the sun doesn’t set for SIX WHOLE MONTHS at the poles? I was super intrigued by this fact and ended up reading articles about this peculiar yet fascinating phenomenon! It’s just day, all day everyday!
Hannah Gold doesn’t shy away from packing the punches: this book deals with a few dense topics such as death of a parent, strained familial relationships, grief and bereavement. But fret not, the author has executed these seamlessly in the story.
April’s encounters with bear were written with a sense of anticipation and fear that gave me the “chills”! (Haha, see what I did there? 😉)
So here’s everything you have to do: keep a box of tissues ready, grab a copy of this book, snuggle up in your sheets, and dive right in! This poignant tale of heartbreak, loss, family, friendship, bravery and climate change is bound to take you on a wild, wild ride to the frozen glaciers and islands of the Arctic! And while you’re at it, don’t forget to admire Levi Pinfold’s GORGEOUS art that made me add visiting the Arctic region on my bucket list immediately!