Review: If Polar Bears Disappeared

BooksforTopics Reading for Pleasure Recommendations

Book Title: If Polar Bears Disappeared (available here)

Author: Lily Williams

Publisher: Wayland

Publication Date: Feb 2019

Most Suitable For: KS1-KS2

Reviewed by: Caroline Wood, (@seawoodwrites), Library Manager

If Polar Bears Disappeared is a wonderfully illustrated introduction to the effects of climate change on the Arctic. Carefully researched, the book introduces the effects of sea ice loss, not just on the titular polar bears, but on all of the wildlife in the area, from orcas to lemmings to plant species and insects.

I really enjoyed the way the author doesn’t just focus on the cute animals, but weaves all of the species together to demonstrate the ecosystem clearly. The losses are built gradually over multiple illustrations and easy-to-understand diagrams which brings home the immediacy of the problem without causing a panic. The book ends on a hopeful note, with tips on environmentally friendly decisions any child can contribute to at home and in school. There are a number of ideas, such as writing to your MP, which could easily be used as a springboard for further work.

The vocabulary of the book is rich but approachable, and it contains a useful glossary which could be used in class to explore the topic. There is also a “Find Out More” section which links to various other books and websites on the theme. I think this would be an excellent book to launch the topic of climate change or ecosystems as a class study for children from Y2-4, and a sound addition to class or school libraries from Y2 upwards – it’s the kind of book a Y6 child will pick up on a whim and learn a lot from quickly. I will certainly be looking to add the companion books in the series to our collection.


You can order If Polar Bears Disappeared online or from your local bookshop or library.

Many thanks to the publisher for sending us a review copy of this book and to Review Panel member Caroline for reviewing it.


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