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Finding Bear

By Hannah Gold

Illustrated by Levi Pinfold

Reviewed by Mia Macrossan

Finding Bear is a continuation of Hannah Gold’s debut and award winning novel The Last Bear (reviewed in StoryLinks) but it works very well as a stand alone. Hannah has also written The Lost Whale and her latest book Turtle Moon is coming out this September. All her books have a strong environmental ‘save the planet’ theme and Finding Bear is no exception
It is 17 months after the events recounted in The Last Bear,  April  and her dad have moved to live closer to her grandma which is lovely but she is unhappy at school since she doesn’t fit in. She lives for the infrequent emails from her friend Tör who works on a boat in the Arctic. When she hears that a bear has been shot in Svalbard she is desperate to find out if it is her friend Bear and her dad reluctantly agrees to take her there.
April again becomes embroiled in a series of adventures – a sled ride with huskies, near drowning in an ice cold lake, nights spent in an abandoned mining camp, and more, all the result of April’s determination, her need to help Bear. He has a cub who needs human intervention to survive so April sets off on a desperate mission to save him. Children do need to be made aware that this is fiction – polar bears and humans are inimical to each other in real life.
Hannah is masterful at describing the cold, the snow, the ice, the wind and the desolation of the country, beautifully realised in Levi Pinfold’s atmospheric illustrations.She revels in its beauty relatively untouched by humans. While there are vast tracts of pristine land, the impact of global warming is all around, particularly affecting the life cycle of the polar bear. This is a powerful story of determination and love of animals, of people and of the planet. The strong plea to do something is captured in April’s words ‘But just imagine if every single person on the planet did one thing?’
Children will enjoy the adventure and find much to think about. The Author’s Note and list of resources she used when writing the book are well worth reading.
HarperCollinsChildren’sBooks 2023
Hannah Gold’s Arctic Adventure shares some photos and videos of her research trip to Svalbard
1942 Amsterdam Ave NY (212) 862-3680

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