The Last Bear – Hannah Gold

Published By: HarperCollins
Pages: 288
Released On: 02/02/2021

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.


I started reading this as a distraction from the serial killer thriller I was reading, but I’d read good reviews so I knew to expect to like it. What I didn’t expect was it to completely steal my attention and my heart. It’s absolutely gorgeous.

But first, can we just take a moment to talk about Levi Pinfold’s illustrations pleas. They’re like photographs. So unbelievably beautiful.

I’m generally not a fan of shoving topics like climate change into books “just because”, especially because I turn to fiction to escape reality. But this is handled so magnificently. Yes it’s an important topic, and yes it’s well written about and is the background to this story, but for me, the relationship between April and the bear just steals all the attention.

Never did I think I could get so emotional about a little girl and a polar bear. The story is filled with such heart and emotion, some good and some sad. The love these two creatures have for each other is exquisite. They may not be able to speak the same, but understand each other all the same. It’s just a real love story to the importance of animals.

I also liked the relationship between April and her father. He’s going through a difficult time and often takes it out on her. She is feeling lonely but understands he’s not in a good place. It’s a relationship that is slow to build, but I think it’s a lovely connection they both have.

Now, I know polar bears are wild animals and wild animals don’t always make friends with humans, especially when said wild animal could eat said human as a snack. But the combination of Hannah’s words and Levi’s artwork just makes me want to give a polar bear a giant cuddle.

I can see that since then, Hannah has written The Lost Whale (March 2022) and Finding Bear (September 2023). These are both instantly going on my wish list.

Amazon has this book’s reading age as 8+. Well, technically, at 29 I do fall into the 8+ category. So whilst this may be billed as a children’s book, I think it’s just as magical for adults. We can get so bogged down in work and grief (see April’s father as an example) that we forget about the important things that speaks to the child in us, spending time with family, exploring, having fun, believing in magic. It also speaks to the adult in us about climate change, but in a subtle, more personable way than we often hear about. I’d be happy to recommend this to the children and the adults in my family. Everyone should read this irrespective of age. It’s just stunning.

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