The Bear Report

by Thyra Heder (Author)

The Bear Report
Reading Level: K − 1st Grade

Sophie does not want to do her homework, a research report on polar bears. Bor-ing. They're big. They eat things. They're mean. What else is there to say about them anyway?

As it turns out, plenty. And when a polar bear named Olafur swoops her away to the Arctic, she soon learns all about the playful bear's habits and habitat--from glacier mice to the northern lights--and, despite her first reservations, she finds herself not just interested but excited about the Arctic. When the two are swept out to sea on an iceberg, Sophie's new knowledge and knack for creative thinking pay off in a big way: she calls a whale to their aid! Inspired by her journey, she's ready to return home and take another swing at her assignment, this time with gusto.

The Bear Report showcases the power of curiosity and imagination to fill any blank canvas, whether it's an incomplete homework assignment or the Arctic ice.

Kirkus Reviews

Starred Review
Gorgeous to look at and a tummy tickler to read, this is a very fine book indeed.

Publishers Weekly

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 2015 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

School Library Journal

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 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

Thyra Heder
Thyra Heder is the author of Fraidyzoo and The Bear Report. She is also an illustrator and storyboard artist for film and advertising. She lives in Brooklyn.
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Abrams Books for Young Readers
Publication date
October 20, 2015
BISAC categories
JUV000000 - Juvenile Fiction | General
Library of Congress categories
Arctic regions
Polar bear

Subscribe to our delicious e-newsletter!