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THE LAST POLAR BEAR by Jean Craighead George


by Jean Craighead George and illustrated by Wendell Minor

Age Range: 5 - 7

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-06-124067-6
Publisher: HarperCollins

Returning to the Arctic, George presents a tale that is simultaneously a warning about global warming/pollution and a surreal meeting between a boy and Nanuq, the polar bear. Seeing an approaching polar bear, Tigluk puts on his gear and goes out to meet the enormous bear, who seems to want Tigluk to follow her. He and his grandmother, aka, do just that after repairing their kayak. They discover an apparently orphaned polar bear cub and decide to take it back to the village to feed it and teach it to survive in a world where the ice is melting. The author’s trademark careful folding of facts into story is missing here—the characters’ words are often pointed barbs aimed at those who pollute, and the tale itself is more far-fetched than her usual fare. Minor’s paintings focus on the people and animals with close-up views reflecting the colors and sights of the Far North, and readers are sure to feel a chill in the air. Ultimately, though, this is troublingly didactic. (Picture book. 5-7)