Booklist (October 1, 2015 (Vol. 112, No. 3))
Preschool-Grade 2. Sophie’s homework is to find three facts about polar bears, but she is more interested in watching TV and just phones it in: “They are big.” “They eat things.” “They are mean.” Just as she is settling down in front of the glowing screen, however, she discovers a giant polar bear perched in an armchair. His name is Olafur, and he wants to show her around his home. In beautiful watercolor illustrations, Sophie playfully learns about life in the Arctic, from whales singing beneath the frigid water to the iridescent aurora borealis. With Olafur as a guide, Sophie realizes the Arctic isn’t a barren wasteland of ice, but a vibrant environment worth saving. Heder’s conversational, handwritten lines casually identify wildlife and Arctic features without getting too fact heavy, which may be more welcoming to kids turned off by informational texts. Meanwhile, the aqueous watercolor washes are the perfect medium for the icy seas. A final spread reveals Sophie enthusiastically researching polar bears and plastering the TV with drawings of Olafur. A breezy, entertaining introduction to the Arctic.