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Author: Melissa Walker

Illustrator: Richard Walker

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Publisher: Whale Tail Press,

Material: hard cover

Summary: When his Aunt Kate calls and says she needs his help with a baby polar bear, Joseph jumps at the chance to spend the summer in Alaska. Joseph is charged with taking care of the sickly cub at the Arctic research station.Sitting in a local diner one day, Joseph and Ada (a new friend) discover that the bear may be an orphan and that there may have been foul play involved in its mother’s death. With the polar bear in danger, there is just one thing to do — bring it back to his grandmother’s house in the North Georgia woods. This is a high interest / low readability novel that draws on environmental themes.

Type of Reading: bedtime story, independent reading, read aloud book, reluctant reader

Recommended Age: read together: 8 to 12; read yourself: 10 and up

Interest Level: 9 and up

Reading Level: 2.4

Young Reader Reaction: Review pending.

Adult Reader Reaction: This was a great book. There are several mysteries, beginning with Lisi’s purchase of the house in the North Georgia Woods when Kate and Ben (Joseph’s dad) were young. There is just enough “prequel” to fill out the character’s personalities and give you a solid foundation for what is yet to come. This is not quite a stay-up-too-late page turner, but it IS a book you want to come back to as soon as you can to keep reading.

Pros: Readers who love mysteries and strong, well-developed characters will find this hard to put down.

Cons: This is probably a book that you could read with upper-elementary readers, but kids sensitive to animals being killed / orphaned could need a little extra TLC.

Borrow or Buy: Borrow, at least. If you have an animal lover (particularly polar bears) this would make a great gift.


Educational Themes: There are several informative themes in this story: conservation, global warming, life in Alaska, and animal science, as well as friendship and growing up.

Notes: The publicist representing the author donated a copy of this book to the Reading Tub® for review consideration because we provide an independent, unbiased profiles. This book will be given to a nonprofit to help readers in need.

Literary Categories: Fiction - mystery, nature, historical fiction, animal characters, ecology, multicultural, middle grade

Date(s) Reviewed: June 2012

Other Reviews: No Critics Reviews found at the time of this review. See reader feedback at and


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