Little Polar Bear by Hans de Beer – Book Review

Little Polar Bear by Hans de BeerLittle Polar Bear by Hans de Beer was different than all previous books we’ve read to our baby.

As befitting a book about polar bears, the illustrations throughout the book were mostly in white with washed out colors. Rather than rely on bold, high-contrast pictures, Little Polar Bear is more focused on the story of a little bear and his adventure.

Little Polar Bear tells the story of Lars, a little polar bear who lives near the North Pole. Lars gets separated from his family, meets strange animals, and goes through an adventure to get back home.

The memorable story is the highlight of the book. Unfortunately, the baby board book version of the story is severely abridged. While the full hardcover or paperback version of Little Polar Bear exceeds 30 pages, the board book version is only 14 pages long. Much of the detail and entire plot twists are conspicuously absent in the board book.

The illustrations in the board book are crisp and well-drawn. The lack of color–while appropriate for the setting–does make the book less appealing for younger children. Arya was getting bored by the first few pages of similar white ice on blue ocean. The drawings do get more vibrant towards the middle of the book once Lars leaves the North Pole. My daughter perked up noticeably once she saw the picture of the big hippo.

I remember reading the original, full version, of the book and the baby board book is much worse. I would like for Arya to read the full story once she gets old enough. I won’t be reading the board version to her since there are many other books with more appealing illustrations for babies her age.

Hans de Beer is a Dutch illustrator who is best known for his Little Polar Bear series of books. de Beer does not have a personal website. He has published a dozen books in the Little Polar Bear series including two board books for babies and one special bath book.

The board book version of Little Polar Bear is out of print. The (much better) paperback version of Little Polar Bear costs (including shipping) $6.95 new and $3.99 used from Amazon.