The Last Bear

The Last Bear

By Author / Illustrator

Hannah Gold, illus Levi Pinfold



Age range(s)



HarperCollins Publishers








"This is an important first novel, important for us, for polar bears, for the planet. It is deeply moving, beautifully told, quite unforgettable." Michael Morpurgo.

There are no polar bears left on Bear Island. At least, that's what April's father tells her when his scientific research takes them to this remote Arctic outpost for six months. But one endless summer night, April meets one. He is starving, lonely and a long way from home. Determined to save him, April begins the most important journey of her life...

This moving story will win the hearts of children the world over and show them that no one is too young or insignificant to make a difference. The Last Bear is a celebration of the love between a child and an animal, a battle cry for our world and an irresistible adventure with a heart as big as a bear's.

'A dazzling debut . . . A magical, confidently told story - with beautiful illustrations by Levi Pinfold . . . I predict a roaring success' The Times



When April's dad tells her they will be living on a remote island in the Arctic circle for six months, she is nothing but happy about it. She will get to miss school, she will get to spend time just with her dad and surely they would have lots of time to build snowmen, have snowball fights and make hot chocolate just how her mum used to make it: hot and creamy.  But dad secretes himself away every day, busy with the weather station and totally absorbed in his work, as usual, leaving April to discover Bear Island alone. Until she finds that she isn't...  April's days become full of adventure as she watches, helps and learns all about The Last Bear on Bear Island, but will her dad believe her? And what can she do, a little girl, to help Bear to find his family?

Hannah Gold creates a magical winter wonderland; her vivid descriptions: transport the reader to the heart of Bear Island; wrap them up in the warmth of her words and the power of her observations; and fly us through an adventure like no other. The honest and raw emotion conveyed through the eyes and thoughts of April are sure to have a lasting effect on any reader. This book is pure magic through and through and the wonderful illustrations by Levi Pinfold are the icing on the cake, or the sparkle on the ice: An absolute masterpiece in storytelling.

For ages 8+ - but it should be read by everyone!

Curriculum links to: Family, bereavement, isolation, curiosity, love, patience, passion, determination, environment, effects of global warming.

304 pages / Ages 8+ / Reviewed by Donna Burkert, teacher

Suggested Reading Age 9+


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