'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.' - author Jackie French

Friday, 16 August 2013

Vintage Review: Polar the Titanic Bear

Published in the 1990s, Polar the Titanic Bear, based on a true story, is written from the perspective of a toy bear and was found in a family trunk long after its creation early in the twentieth century.

A young boy named Douglas is fortunate to travel the world with his family, and at the beginning of one such trip he is given a parting gift - Polar, a Steiff teddy bear made in Germany and bought at a store in New York. So begins Polar’s first international expedition, staying in hotels and playing outdoors. Companion to Douglas while quarantined by chicken pox, Polar is even subjected to a disinfectant bath.

Experiencing the snow and travelling to Panama, Bermuda, Algiers, and France, the two friends share the excitement of exploring Paris. Then, for their journey home to America, Polar joins Douglas and his family aboard a new ship - the biggest in the world - the Titanic. On this adventure, Polar and Douglas play games on the deck, eat in the dining saloon and listen to the ship’s band. Then one evening the ship strikes an iceberg and they escape on lifeboats. Polar becomes separated from Douglas and desperately waits to be rescued again.

Author, Daisy Spedden, wrote Polar for her son after they survived the 1912 sinking of the Titanic. Douglas tragically died in an accident as a boy, and the story was put away and discovered many years later.

Original photographs complement the story and its period-styled illustrations - watercolours by Laurie McGaw - which depict life and the events of more than a century ago. Polar the Titanic Bear is enjoyable and informative, and an endearing tribute to those who travelled on the Titanic.

Title: Polar the Titanic Bear
Author: Daisy Corning Stone Spedden
Illustrator: Laurie McGaw
Publisher: Hodder Headline, $21.99 RRP
Publication Date: 1998
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 0733609104
For ages: 5-8
Type: Picture book

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