Journey of the Pale Bear by Susan Fletcher is a historical juvenile fiction book best for 4-7 graders.
When a great white bear is to be a gift from the King of Norway to the King of England, she is called a royal bear. When Arthur, a twelve-year-old runaway, first comes in contact with this bear, he is terrified. Miraculously, the bear doesn’t harm him, instead she lets him near and when no one else but Arthur is able to calm the bear, he is recruited as her caretaker for the sea journey from Norway to London.
As he continues to care for the bear, Arthur realizes that there is some connection between them, an understanding he cannot name. But the journey is fraught with peril and when the bear has a chance at freedom, will she take it or choose to save this human boy she has come to care for.
Based on a true story of a great white bear who lived in the Tower of London, this book displays the bond between a boy and a bear.
I really enjoyed this book. It’s not one I would usually choose for my 4-6th grade book club–we tend to lean toward realistic or science fiction–but I am seriously considering adding it to our reading list.
Arthur is a believable and a relatable character. And his relationship with the bear and the doctor is probably the highlights of this book. It was also really neat to get a look inside the Tower of London and the Kind’s menagerie.
But what the best part of this book is, is how Susan Fletcher takes just a tiny piece of historical information and develops this whole imagined story of what could have been. And it is believable to boot!
This one gets a solid five stars from me.
That’s all for now!