The bear report

Thyra Heder

Book - 2015

Sophie is uninterested in writing a research report on polar bears until a polar bear named Olafur swoops her away to the Arctic, where she learns all about the playful bear's habits and habitat, from glacier mice to Northern Lights.

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Picture books
New York : Abrams Books for Young Readers 2015.
Physical Description
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 26 cm
Main Author
Thyra Heder (author)
Review by Booklist Review

Sophie's homework is to find three facts about polar bears, but she is more interested in watching TV and just phones it in: They are big. They eat things. They are mean. Just as she is settling down in front of the glowing screen, however, she discovers a giant polar bear perched in an armchair. His name is Olafur, and he wants to show her around his home. In beautiful watercolor illustrations, Sophie playfully learns about life in the Arctic, from whales singing beneath the frigid water to the iridescent aurora borealis. With Olafur as a guide, Sophie realizes the Arctic isn't a barren wasteland of ice, but a vibrant environment worth saving. Heder's conversational, handwritten lines casually identify wildlife and Arctic features without getting too fact heavy, which may be more welcoming to kids turned off by informational texts. Meanwhile, the aqueous watercolor washes are the perfect medium for the icy seas. A final spread reveals Sophie enthusiastically researching polar bears and plastering the TV with drawings of Olafur. A breezy, entertaining introduction to the Arctic.--Hunter, Sarah Copyright 2015 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission. Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Faced with a bland homework assignment that requests "three facts about polar bears," a girl named Sophie slumps at a table. She jots that "they are big," "they eat things," and "they are mean," and wanders off to watch TV. Sophie drops the remote in amazement when a life-size polar bear materializes on a chair and announces, "We're not all mean." The bear, Olafur, invites Sophie to the Arctic, and despite her indifference ("I've seen pictures"), a turn of the page transports them to an icy vista of blue and white. In unframed watercolor panels with graceful hand-lettered dialogue, Olafur and Sophie fish with sharp sticks, explore lichen-covered rocks, and watch the aurora borealis. They plunge their heads into the sea to hear whale song and, when their ice floe melts, ride a humpback to shore. Back home, Sophie's uninspired "bear report" expands into an illustrated project on Ursus maritimus. 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. Agent: Stephen Barr, Writers House. (Oct.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Review by School Library Journal Review

K-Gr 2-Wordless panels show Sophie struggling with her homework. On the following spread, the girl abandons her homework for the TV after she manages to list three "facts" about polar bears: "They are big. They eat things. They are mean." But the page turn brings a giant polar bear right into her living room in a striking spread-"We're not ALL mean." The bear introduces himself and insists on taking Sophie on a personal tour of his home in the Arctic, and then miraculously they are there. Lush watercolor illustrations create a breathtaking setting shown from a variety of perspectives that capture the vastness and beauty of the region. The true details of the place become as fantastic as the fantasy elements of the plot. The bear shows Sophie what he likes to eat (his take on fish sticks) and the music he likes (whale song), and after overcoming a near disaster on a melting iceberg, the two share a last moment together enjoying the Northern Lights. Information about the Arctic is peppered throughout the adventure, and the final wordless spread shows Sophie working feverishly into the night on her school assignment. VERDICT Those inspired by the visuals and details may want to seek out more information on the Arctic and its wildlife.-Julie Roach, Cambridge Public Library, MA © Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. Review by Horn Book Review

Assigned a presentation on polar bears, Sophie distractedly scrawls that they are big and mean and eat things. Olafur the polar bear magically appears in her home and brings her on a guided trip of the Arctic to teach her more. Fully saturated double-page spreads bring the chilly landscape to wondrous life, while the text is a cohesive mix of story and fact. (c) Copyright 2016. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. Review by Kirkus Book Review

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. "Sealsfoxessnow rabbits," the bear responds. "But they avoid me." The author teaches about life in the Arctic in the best way possibleby 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) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.