The Last Bear by Hannah Gold Book Review

Author Information

Hannah Gold worked in the film and magazine industries before taking time out to pursue her dream of writing. She lives in Lincolnshire with her tortoise, her cat and her husband. This is her middle grade debut.

Book Description

In this instant literary classic about friendship, forging your own path, and doing what’s right, debut author Hannah Gold inspires fans of Pax and A Wolf Called Wander to make a difference in any way they can.

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 a faraway Arctic outpost.

But one night, April catches a glimpse of something distinctly bear shaped loping across the horizon. A polar bear who shouldn’t be there—who is hungry, lonely and a long way from home.

Fusing environmental awareness with a touching story of kindness, The Last Bear will include full-page black-and-white illustrations as well as a note from the author with facts about the real Bear Island and the plight of the polar bears.


Thank you to Harper Collins for the advanced copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.

Thoughts and Themes: This book tackles several themes throughout the story but the main one is of climate change. I think that this book also focuses on family and friendship throughout the story and have found these to be prominent themes in middle grade books.

I really like how this book focuses on climate change and shows this through the polar bear in this story. I like how you see not just the polar bear but also hear the conversations that April has with her dad about the weather. I like that we get to have the dad explain what his job is at this place and how the changes in the weather affect the rest of the world.

I would recommend this to those of you looking for something to read with your children, or something that your kids could read. This book is a great introduction to environmental issues for children ages 7+.

Characters: Throughout this story you are introduced to three main characters and a few side characters. The side characters add a little bit to the story and assist in moving the story forward but they are there as filler. The important characters are April, an eleven year old girl, her dad, and Bear.

I liked the relationship that was depicted between April and Bear throughout this story and how it slowly developed over time. I thought the story between April and Bear felt like something completely out of this world which made it such a good story. I liked that it felt like we were in a different world whenever these two interacted with each other and liked how much love was put into their relationship.

Writing Style: This story is told through third person through April’s perspective. I really liked how we were seeing things through her perspective and how small she was in comparison to the space she was in. I liked that we got to feel small along with her through her interactions with Bear and also with her dad. I thought that having the story told in her perspective really added another layer to the whole thing and made it feel imaginary at some times.