The Bear Report by Thyra Heder
Heder, Thyra. The Bear Report. 2015. New York. Abrams
Sophie, an elementary school girl begins writing a boring, basic report on polar bears when one suddenly appears in her living room and takes her to his home where they explore the beauty, dangers, and interactions between the creatures of the polar region. This adventure sparks her creativity and her report takes on a life of its own. . .
In the author’s note at the back of the book, Heder describes a trip to Iceland’s Sólheimajökull Glacier as the inspiration for this book. The ink and watercolor art were inspired by the photographer Florian Schulz and capture the beauty and playfulness of Olafur, Sophie’s new polar friend. The author’s approach to introducing facts about the inhabitants of the glacier from the polar bear’s point of view is creative and the artwork depicting the interactions between a young girl and the giant bear are touching. This book should go on everyone’s winter bedtime story list.
“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.”—Kirkus Review
“With few words and expansive spreads, Heder (Fraidyzoo) lovingly depicts Sophie’s blossoming interest and Olafur’s patient guidance, encouraging a passion for the wilderness without directly mentioning environmentalism. Ages 4–8.”—Publishers Weekly
Reviewed by Jean L.