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The Last Polar Bears

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  215 ratings  ·  32 reviews
Grandfather is off on an expedition to the North Pole to find the Last Polar Bears and with him goes Roo - a dog of character and strong views. The intrepid explorers set sail on the good ship Unsinkable and embark on the adventure of a lifetime.

Eccentric, moving and very funny, their story is told through a series of extraordinary letters.
Paperback, 80 pages
Published October 3rd 1996 by Puffin (first published 1993)
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Average rating 4.06  · 
Rating details
 ·  215 ratings  ·  32 reviews

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I adore this book. It's one of my all time favourites. I can re-read it and re-read and ever grow tired of it. It is the story of Grandfather and his dog Roo. They set off to travel to the North Pole to see for themselves; The Last Polar Bears. The story is hilarious and wonderful and heart warming. Roo makes me laugh out loud at every turn of the page and Grandfather is a wonderful character who never fails to remind me of my own Grandfather. It's been oone of my favourites for years now and ...more
ninotaziz ninotaziz
May 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children
Now there are many books i recommend as an absolute must for children because they

a) are absolutely delightful
b) have excellent use of language
c) are classics

I would like to recommend Harry Horse's series of Grandfather's and Roo's adventures simple because they introduce WIT to children. I read it a long time ago when the older girls were younger - and I think for those of you with children eight to ten ( as I do too now), this is perfect.
Maria Matthews
Nov 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I discovered a copy of this book at my dads. He used to read it to the grandkids. Curiosity got the better of me, I loved the cover and that alone convinced me to read it. I wasn't disappointed. I recommend it to children of ages 6 years and upwards.
Dec 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great book. Lovely story. A true classic - just a brilliant example of what children's stories are all about; touching moments, funny moments, adventure, escapism and very imaginative.
Harry Goodwin
Aug 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Means more to me than probably any other book ever
Victoria Wilton
Jul 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Utterly charming, I am totally in love with Roo and Grandfather and have been transported back to my childhood re-reading this! Can't wait to revisit more!
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 20, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cute fun little story. Makes me want to read the other Grandfather and Roo adventures. Penguins, however, are only found in the Antarctic.
Mar 14, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: uh... no one, really
Shelves: kids-fiction
"I don't get it." It's not good when you close a book and make that statement. I cannot figure this book out. Who is the intended audience? Beats the heck out of me. It's presented as a children's book, and the frequent--and adorable--illustrations confirm that. But... walk with me; talk with me....

The star of this book is Roo, the grandfather's dog. Her "comments" are humorous and entertaining. But I have to wonder: does Roo really talk, or does Grandfather just attribute motives and
Title / Author / Publication Date:
The Last Polar Bears / Horse, Harry / 2007

Genre: Adventure. Fiction

Format: Book – print. 104 pages

Plot summary:
The story of a grandfather who has gone on an adventure with his dog, Roo, to find the last polar bears at the North Pole. The story unfolds as a series of letters written to his grandchild.

Review citation:
Grant, A. (2007). The Last Polar Bears. School Library Journal, 53(12), 90.

Selection source used to find the material:
Best Books for Children 9th
Aug 03, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: jfic, fromthelibrary
Eh... Cleverly told in letters, The Last Polar Bears is an amusing little story of a grandfather and a dog on an adventure to see the last polar bears. My real problem with it is that the ending is very lame. I honestly felt like the grandfather died and the end was an allegory. But then, there's a sequel, so I guess not. It just didn't have the triumphant ending that I was hoping for at the end of a treacherous adventure. The dog Roo tells a lot of tall tales which are very funny. Also on the ...more
Mar 02, 2008 rated it liked it
Somehow I had missed these books-- and was unaware of the whole tragic story of their author.

I could definitely see what was endearing about them, but also couldn't get past the factual inaccuracies-- polar bears and penguins together at the North Pole? Yes, there's also a talking dog, so I know it's not supposed to be realistic, but still. The books are meant to introduce kids to various places, and a *little* bit of fact checking would have been nice...
Feb 20, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read aloud to Aliza (6) for bedtime story. This is a really charming set of letters telling the tale of Grandfather and his spunky dog Roo as they venture to the North Pole in search of polar bears. Armed mainly with their wits and a golf trolley, they board the Unsinkable, then trek across the tundra while defending themselves again wolves who are frequently tippling on Old Sock. Some may not like the references to alcohol, or the total confusion of fact and reality, but we enjoyed it.
Jun 23, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kids-books
Once I got over the penguin problem (there are no penguins at the North Pole!), I enjoyed this book enough to make it one of my staff picks at work. Harry Horse can, at times, seem to border on the saccharine unless he's got his wit on full-force. The wolves all drunk on Old Sock and the ice-cream up at the Pole balanced each other out well, for example. Plus, I grew very fond of Roo, her laziness and lies especially.
Christina Jones
Lovely gentle read for younger listeners. Told in a series of letters from a Grandfather to his grandchild, whom he refers to as "child." The grandfather goes on improbably adventures with his canine companion - equally improbable. First in a series. Sadly the author is no longer with us...
Dec 16, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I fell in love with the cover and inside artwork when I saw this book, and just had to read it. To me, Harry Horse's writing is similar to Shel Silverstein's: way out there, and makes you want to keep on reading.
Aug 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's supposed to be children's literature, I guess but I love it. It's a cute little whimsical story and the illlustrations are simply fantastic. I finished reading it on my way home after work. It've added so much colour to my, otherwise, boring commuting.
May 30, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I didn't get it. It wasn't funny - way too many alcohol references for the intended audience - and whimsical in a confusing, ultimately pointless way. And the polar bears? Well you don't see much of them at all. It's only saving grace are the charming pen and ink drawings.
Nancy Wang
Jul 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Got it on a Virgin Atlantic flight as a kid, LOVED IT.

I've been trying to find this book everywhere, and it holds a lot of memories for me.
Aug 31, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oddly existential for a childrens' book, but I re-read it every now and then! The experience was somewhat mitigated when I researched the author...
Jul 15, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
We enjoyed this evening read so much that we have placed the next two books in the series on hold at the library.
Jan 26, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Read this with A. Sort of an odd children's book. Best part was the delightful illustrations. A was quick to point out that polar bears and penguins do not live together!
Kristy McRae
Jan 30, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A sweet and funny middle-grade novel, done entirely as letters written from an adventuresome grandfather (and his talking dog) to his grandson. It's also filled with fabulous illustrations.
Apr 04, 2008 rated it it was amazing
What a wonderful little book... totally escapist fun and adventure spattered with continual comic pieces...

My youngest daughter loved it... and so did I.
Feb 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was one of my favourite childhood books, and re-reading it brings the same joy that it did years ago!
Sep 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
one of my favourite books, also where Roo got the nickname
Jul 08, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked the way the content of this book was organised.
Aug 05, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: w-oscar
Grandfather and Roo (his very funny talking dog) are on an adventure to the Arctic to see the polar bears. Not one of my favorites.
Mandy Haggith
Dec 20, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bears
A distinct lack of polar bears and an overabundance of an irritating dog.
Dec 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An uncle and his unwilling dog set off to find the last Polar Bears, undergoing exquisite trials and torments. Don't miss this.
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Harry Horse wrote and illustrated many books for children, including the popular Little Rabbit picture books and the novels The Last Polar Bears, The Last Castaways, The Last Cowboys, and The Last Gold Diggers. He was also a political cartoonist for several national newspapers in the United Kingdom.