Little polar bear and the reindeer by Hans de Beer

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First published in 2005, Little Polar Bear and the Reindeer, is one of the Little Polar Bear picture book series written by Dutch author Hans de Beer. This very popular series, first written in 1945, has been made into several animated adaptations as well as feature films and is now being republished for a new generation of readers. In this beautifully illustrated book, Lars the little polar bear, is noticing the change of seasons and the beginnings of the migration of birds and animals. He quickly finds he must move out of the way of the large herd reindeer on their way to warmer places but after frolicking in the first snowstorm of the season he discovers one young reindeer called Oliver who has been left behind. Lars comforts Oliver and promises to go with him to find his mother.

Lars and Oliver have several challenges along the journey and find safety with a herd of giant musk oxen. The musk oxen decide to accompany the young ones to keep them safe. Eventually they find the reindeer herd who have had their journey thwarted by a huge cyclone fence and large concrete pipes.  Lars thoughtfully considers the reindeers’ predicament and comes up with a clever solution.

This is a very appealing book which younger readers will enjoy. It brings in aspects of environmental issues that can affect animal survival which are important to share with children. A welcome addition to a home, school or public library.

Themes: North Pole, Polar Bear, Reindeer, Musk Ox, Friendship, Migrations, Journeys, Environmental Damage, Survival, Problem-solving.

Kathryn Beilby