Nov 5, 2015

Another PICTURE BOOK Recommendation: The Bear Report

Here's another picture book recommendation that you won't want to miss. 
Seriously, doesn't this just tug at your heart?
Harry N. Abrams. October, 2015

The Bear Report, written and illustrated by Thyra Heder, is a remarkable story blending fact and fantasy seamlessly, a magical power picture books have been known to exert over readers from time to time. 
In this case the fiction is a realistic story of a girl who must write a report on polar bears... BORING! 
The fantasy is that a polar bear (Olafur- don't you love that?) shows up to provide a guided tour of life as a polar bear. From that fantastic experience emerge facts about the food, habitat, and challenges to life  in the Arctic. 
The premise concludes with Sophie returning to write the most detailed and enthusiastic report ever!

I kept my comments short on Goodreads because this is one case where no amount of description or praise can do justice to the experience this book will provide.

"A powerful blend of story, science, and images ideally designed to capture both fantasy and fact. The young human is a perfect foil for the most appealing polar bear you'll ever meet, one that is wise and witty."

If I had the clout of a Kirkus Review, I'd have been more detailed. Instead, they did it for me, giving THE BEAR REPORT a starred review and saying this:

"Wit, imagination, and a bit of the impossible combine with chilly shades of icy blue and stormy gray for an elegant beauty of a book.
Combining panel storytelling with full-bleed artwork, succinct word use, and creative text placement, Heder’s tale comes alive as a picture book accessible to younger readers yet engaging to more sophisticated audiences. It’s the story of young Sophie, who’d rather watch television than do her homework assignment on polar bears. “They are big / they eat things / they are mean.” That seems to be all the young girl can think of, until a polar bear visits her living room and whisks her off to an artfully constructed Arctic, complete with ice floes, whales, and snow rabbits. In this follow-up to Fraidyzoo (2013), Heder captures the spirit of a child’s imagination, allowing readers to watch as Sophie transforms from boredom to curiosity to pure delight. Heder uses sumptuous watercolors to depict girl and bear laughing, learning, and tumbling through the wintry background. Wry, hand-lettered dialogue is the only text. “What else is under here?” the girl asks. “Seals…foxes…snow rabbits,” the bear responds. “But they avoid me.” The author teaches about life in the Arctic in the best way possible—by making it feel like she's not teaching at all.
Gorgeous to look at and a tummy tickler to read, this is a very fine book indeed. (Picture book. 4-8)"
As I said, you've really got to get your hands on this one. Hurry, Olafur is waiting for you!


  1. Many wonderful "Aww...." moments in this book. It's delightful!

    1. I agree. There were so many "bear" titles released this year (as there always are, along with "monster" titles") and so I was rather blown away by how much this one stood head and shoulders above the crowd. The art is gorgeous, but the relationship and gentle dialogue, plus surprise moments, made this an unforgettable book for me. Thanks for stopping by, Cathy! Your opinion really matters.

  2. Replies
    1. It really is, and it is making itself known on lots of award-nominee lists. You'll love it, kids will, too!

  3. I loved this one too! It's a beautiful picture book.

    1. There were so many subtle notes,too, amid the sweeping beauty of the art. The facial expressions are just one example. And it left me smiling!


Picture books are as versatile and diverse as the readers who enjoy them. Join me to explore the wacky, wonderful, challenging and changing world of picture books.