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Polar the Titanic Bear

4.01  ·  Rating Details  ·  450 Ratings  ·  52 Reviews
Written for her son by an American heiress whose family survived the 1912 sinking of the "Titanic", this account of the Edwardian life and of the disaster is told through the eyes of the young boy's teddy bear. Illustrated with watercolors and family photographs, this book makes an ideal read-aloud.
Paperback, 64 pages
Published September 1st 2001 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (first published 1994)
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Community Reviews

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Julia Brumfield
This is a child's book that follows the life of a toy that comes into the possession of a little boy who although rich also suffers from the mundane problems of his timeframe. It is as a result of these tragedies that give the book a "Velveteen Rabbit" tone.

The beautiful illustrations that are found in the book are supported by photographs and postcard of the timeframe lending the book a historical yet intimate air to the reader along with both the Introduction & Epilogue. If you can't rel
Dec 11, 2015 Erin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Unfortunately, I had limited time to read this in my Children's Literature class, so I mostly had to skim through the story. But I would love to take the time to sit down and read it all the way through because I am fascinated by the Titanic. I was interested to discover that this story was not written by an author from our generation; it was actually written by the nanny who knew the Titanic story personally. The characters in the book are actual people. There are some actual photos of the fami ...more
Tasia Ramejkis
This book is fantastic, entwining the story about a little boy and his polar bear teddy. They are from a wealthy (upper/1st class) kind of family who travel the world. They take a journey on the brand new unsinkable ship The Titanic.

The story includes lots of twists and turns. Amazing photography taken by the actually mother of the boy.

It is a true story, the characters can actually be found the sailing list (including in the Liverpool maritime museum)

Cross curricular links

History - the titani
Robyn Schultz
Polar: The Titanic Bear is heartwarming story told from the viewpoint of Polar, the toy polar bear. Polar, a Stief teddy bear, was purchased for young Douglas Spedden as a Christmas gift. The Speddens were an upper class family and they traveled extensively and Polar accompanied them to many exotic locations. The family was excited to book passage on the maiden voyage of the Titanic. While the book does tell the story of the families escape on a life boat, and being picked up by the Carpathia, i ...more
a non-fiction biography of a teddy bear that survived the titanic. this book could have gone wrong so easily if it had been fiction ("the berenstain bears survive a disaster!" "miss spider, the teddy bear and the 1500 dead folk." etc) instead a beautifully written biography of a little rich boy and his steiff bear, both of which do survive the titanic. lots of photos, postcards, tix from the titanic, even a small history of steiff made this a great read. the one warning i'll give is the ending ...more
Despite the title, this book is much more about Polar's 'life' *before* the Titanic. Perhaps it should be titled "Polar the bear of a fabulously wealthy boy in a bygone era, who happened to survive the sinking of the Titanic." It contains too much mundane and disconnected detail early on to maintain the attention of a young listener (even a 7yo with a keen interest in the Titanic). For example, do we need to know how long they stayed in each exotic locale and that they celebrated Washington's bi ...more
Laura Verret
I found Polar the Titanic Bear at a Goodwill for the nondescript price of $ .35. Printed across the front cover were the words ‘A True Story’, and the picture of Polar in his cute little sailor’s outfit did me in. I bought it. And I’m so glad I did.

The Story. Polar’s story begins inauspiciously as a seamstress stitches him together in a German toyshop. He is a stuffed animal and is part of a large order of toys which are being shipped to New York. As customers snatch Polar’s bear friends from th
Kerry Kenney
This story is the product of a private family album from a marvelous lost time--like a time capsule. This is a children's book that is better for an adult or a teenager.

I will copy the abstract from amazon because it communicates exactly what I like about this book...please excuse my liberty

Imagine the excitement of rooting around in an old attic and discovering the letters, diaries, and photo albums of a relative. What if that memorabilia opened a window on the sinking of the Titanic, the most
Lauren Summers
The book is billeted as a Titanic story but over two-thirds are devoted to the description of the Speddens decadent, transient life-style. The pathos, devastation and terror that embodies all things Titanic is glossed over for an apathetic account of how the toy bear almost gets left in the life boat. After 1,500 people have just drowned or frozen to death in the most infamous at-sea disaster of all time, that seems an odd thing to focus on. I understand that this is written for a child audience ...more
Mar 09, 2014 Sarah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-s-books
My girls & I really liked this book. It was interesting how it was told from the bears perspective. I liked how they included some history, before & after, about the family that the bear belonged to. The illustrations were very nice & the pictures of actual photos of the family add a nice touch to the book. This would make an excellent basis for a study of history. There is so many things/places - foreign & US - that you could study, just from the places & events that take pl ...more
Summer Galindo
This is a wonderful book that tells a fictional story that is surrounded in facts from the Titanic. It is told from the point of view of a teddy bear but provides many great facts and information of what it was like to be in a wealthy family in that era. The information and pictures from the Titanic are captivating.
Nicole Packer
Oct 21, 2014 Nicole Packer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens-lit
I absolutely loved this book! It is super cute and I love how the story is told from the bears point of view rather than the little boys point of view. I really want this in my classroom when I am a teacher!
this is a true story about a stuffed bear that made the rounds of several countries with his boy Douglas Spedden, and ended up on the Titanic. The book is filled with actual photos of Douglas with Polar, and fanciful 1900's themed watercolors that complete the vision.
The story is told from the point of view of the bear himself, so its sweet and non threatening.
Douglas, Polar and his mother make it safely to the lifeboat and are rescued by the Carpathia, but Polar is almost left behing on the li
Okay, if you can get around the fact that there is WAY too much text, and the story is not paced well, then this book is a great way to introduce kids to the titantic's tragedy.

The illustrations were lovely and realistic, and the period photos added nice touches. The fact that this true story follows the adventures of a stuffed animal was charming. Otherwise I wish the author had found a better editor to streamline the story.

I did like how the first part of this story was ANTI-Velveteen Rabbit.
Mason, Natalie & Oliver
Not really sure how to rate this book. I LOVE all things about the Titanic, so I was excited to read this to my son when he brought it home from school. But, he doesn't know anything about the Titanic and I think was a bit worried by seeing the ship sinking in the book! For older kids, I think it would be a great book - lots of references to the way things were back then, and both in the beginning and back of the book there is a lot of information. I loved, though, that there were actual picture ...more
Polar is a stuffed bear that belongs to a young boy. The entire story is told from the point of view of the bear, from the time he was stuffed and shipped, until the day his master passed away. Polar was a special bear because the young boy he belonged to was on the Titanic the night it sank. Polar offers an eyewitness account of the tradgic events that night in 1912.

Though the book was geared toward a seven year old boy, I find it hard to believe that a child that young today would be able to s
Daisy Corning Stone Spedden was one of the few survivors of Titanic, along with her son and husband. As a Christmas present, she wrote this story for her son (who would tragically die a few years later), using the view of one of his favorite toys. Apparently she illustrated the original book too, but this one was redone by another illustrator. I actually would like to see the original illustrations. Daisy was a prolific photographer, and some of her photographs of the family were included in thi ...more
Diane Heath
Originally written by Daisy Spedden for her son. They were among the survivors of the Titanic.
Feb 10, 2011 Melissa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The background information supplied were more fascinating than the actual story told, and added immensely to it. The story is a wonderful children's story - the life of a bear, who happened to survive the sinking of the Titanic. The story itself is not the most well-written, but the aforementioned supplemental info explained that it was written by the mother to her 7-year-old son, both of whom also survived the Titanic, and was found in an attic by relatives years later and published. It is a to ...more
May 02, 2010 Cheryl rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-s
While poking through items stored in an old attic, Leighton Coleman found a little journal written by his relative, Daisy Spedden, to her young son, Douglas. The story is about Douglas and his bear named Polar. Polar traveled the world with the wealthy Spedden family. Polar recounts their adventures which include their ill fated voyage on and rescue from the Titanic. This charming little book includes photos from the Spedding family album as well as watercolor drawings which give the reader a gl ...more
A lover of children's books, I chose this delightful story written by a Titanic Survivor about her son and his bear. The photos included added a historical touch. It was purchased in Pigeon Forge at the Titanic Attraction. I recommend this tour if ever in Branson, MO or Pigeon Forge. And get a tour audio handset if you go! A great place for people who love reading. So much information on interpretive displays. We spent almost 4 hours and still didn't "see" (read) evey thing. Polar is a cute stor ...more
Debby Baumgartner
Story of a teddy bear that accompanies on a little boy on the Titanic.
Sep 12, 2009 Heather rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens, history
I found this book to be very interesting, although I couldn't get my 3 year old to sit through the whole thing. It is about a stuffed bear that survived the Titanic. The woman who wrote it, wrote it as a gift for her son who owned the stuffed bear. She kept many journals and took many photographs which you can see through out the book. It's about how a small boy (with his stuffed bear as narrator) would have felt about this historical disaster.
The story behind this book is beautiful and sad. It paints the tragedy of the Titanic in a light that is a little easier for kids to understand, all the while holding wonderful illustrations and the heartwarming story of a boy and his bear. The use of photos of the boy the story was based on adds a realism that the words "based on a true story" just don't. This book will stay with me for a very long time.
Lauren Loutzenhiser
My greatest "accidental" find.... I would give this more than 5 stars if I could! This is a childrens' book, but adults will probably appreciate it more. Not only is this an incredible story (don't forget to find out what happens to "Master" - this is divulged only in the bigger hardcover edition) but the accompanying watercolor illustrations are fabulous! Run to your library and find this book!
Michelle Gerber
Aug 25, 2011 Michelle Gerber marked it as to-read
The childrens story was a little dated (to be expected), but it was also bland. It seemed to tell a story without a plot, climax, or purpose. The bears love for his master and masters love for the bear was similar to The Velveteen Rabbit -which I guess caused me to expect more out of the story. The Introduction and the Epilogue were far more interesting.
Apr 11, 2012 Robin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good description of what life was like for the rich in America in the early 1900s - lots of travel abroad, servants, etc. This is a true account of the life of a young rich boy who happens to have been a survivor of the Titanic as told by his toy bear. Interesting, it includes many photographs that are great to look at. I love the history!
Starr Elementary
Good description of what life was like for the rich in America in the early 1900s - lots of travel abroad, servants, etc. This is a true account of the life of a young rich boy who happens to have been a survivor of the Titanic as told by his toy bear. Interesting, it includes many photographs that are great to look at. I love the history!
Kristal Cooper
This is an amazing story that I never knew about! Polar is a stuffed bear that belonged to a real boy in a real family that survived the sinking of the Titanic. Two Christmases later, the boy's mother wrote a children's book for her son, about Polar's adventures. This book includes both stories. Loved it!
Dec 03, 2008 Maelee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Polar the Titanic Bear is a book read on several levels. It is a story of love and devotion as well as a delightful children's story for all ages. The seriousness of the Titanic tragedy is balanced with the true love between mother and child, and child and teddy bear. There's something for everyone in this story.
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