About the book:
Sophie does not want to do her homework, a research report on polar bears. Bor-ing. They’re big. They eat things. They’re mean. What else is there to say about them anyway? As it turns out, plenty. And when a polar bear named Olafur swoops her away to the Arctic, she soon learns all about the playful bear’s habits and habitat—from glacier mice to the northern lights—and, despite her first reservations, she finds herself not just interested but excited about the Arctic. When the two are swept out to sea on an iceberg, Sophie’s new knowledge and knack for creative thinking pay off in a big way: she calls a whale to their aid! Inspired by her journey, she’s ready to return home and take another swing at her assignment, this time with gusto.
The Bear Report showcases the power of curiosity and imagination to fill any blank canvas, whether it’s an incomplete homework assignment or the Arctic ice.
My thoughts on the book:
This is the time of the year when I begin thinking about my favorite books of the year. Some books grow on me as I read them again and again. Other books just never seem to catch my interest. And then there are those books that right from the moment I see the cover or flip through the first few pages, I know that I must have the book.
Originally, I discovered Thyra Heder when I picked up her book Fraidyzoo. I purchased it on a trip east while visiting R. J. Julia's in Madison, Connecticut. However, when I first held The Bear Report, I knew this was a special book. When I got to the page where the polar bear tells the young girl "We are not ALL mean.", I had to smile. This book was going to be a fun read.
Heder swirls together a whimsical journey taken by a large polar bear and a small girl with beautiful illustrations.
However, the story is not all imagination, readers discover facts about the arctic and the environment inhabited by polar bears and other animals.
The friendship between the girl and the bear is touching and humorous.
When Sophie learns about the whale's song and then uses her new found knowledge to communicate with the whale, I chuckled. However, when I opened to the two page spread of northern lights, I took a moment to pause and like Sophie and Olafur just admire it. I would love a print of of these two pages.
In the end, Sophie has been transformed by her time with Olafur just as the reader has been touched by the beauty of this book.
Consider pairing The Bear Report with a nonfiction book about polar bears when sharing it with students. Pick up a copy of The Bear Report at your local indie bookstore or check it out at your community library.
About the author:
Thyra Heder is the author of FRAIDYZOO, an ALA Notable Book hailed by Kirkus as "riotous buffoonery" in a starred review. She is also an illustrator and storyboard artist whose clients include Kenneth Cole, Vogue, and Coca-Cola. She lives in Brooklyn. For more information: website | twitter | facebook