#TheLastBear by Hannah Gold is a beautiful and unique story of one young girl’s friendship with a polar bear.
April’s father is an Arctic researcher whose work takes him to Bear Island where the landscape is sparse and snow-covered and in the summer there is constant daylight.
Left to her own devices, April goes exploring and finds Bear, a lone, hungry polar bear who has caught his hand on some plastic waste that’s travelled all the way across the sea. She does everything she can to help him and the two develop an unlikely bond.
I found the descriptions of Bear particularly wonderful. Despite not being able to communicate with April through words, his nature and personality was clear from the very outset. This is one of my favourite passages, in which Bear takes April onto her back:
Bear slowed, momentarily. He lowered on to his haunches, took a powerful, deep breath right down into his soul and then he leaped - he leaped through the sky as he soared to the summit. And time stopped.
There was nothing but this moment. This one precious, beautiful, suspended moment. When she clung onto Bear. Where Bear clung onto her. And where the pair of them flew through the sky.
The Last Bear is a truly wonderful book with an important message that will be enjoyed by all middle grade readers. The illustrations by Levi Pinfold are phenomenal!