Monday 22 March 2021

The Last Bear

The Last Bear by Hannah Gold (HarperCollins) RRP HB $19.99 ISBN 9780008411282

Reviewed by Kylie Buckley

The Last Bear
is a delightful middle grade fiction novel that will tug at your heartstrings. Written in the third person, the narrative follows the adventures of 11-year-old April Wood, who is temporarily living on Bear Island, a remote and desolate part of the Arctic Circle. April and her widowed father agree to move to Bear Island for 6 months when he is offered a position to man the weather station.

Despite being told there were no polar bears left on Bear Island, animal-lover April was sold on the idea of moving when she imagined the quality-time she could have with her dad…the ‘togetherness’ she craved, but rarely received. However, as soon as they arrive on the island, her dad focuses on his job and has little time for her. April decides to venture out on her own each day and, after a few weeks, catches sight of a polar bear. She soon discovers that the bear is hurt, malnourished and alone, so she dedicates her days to trying to help it. 

The Last Bear is a beautiful story about making a difference. Its themes include global warming, endangered animals, environmental care, empathy, compassion, family, grief, and loss. This book serves as a reminder that we should fight to be heard on important matters, as we can all play a part, big or small, in making the world a better place. The Last Bear is highly recommended for children aged 8 years and older.

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