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The Very, Very Far North

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  314 ratings  ·  102 reviews
An inquisitive polar bear named Duane befriends an array of animals as he discovers where he belongs in this charming classic-in-the making that’s reminiscent of Winnie the Pooh.

In the Very, Very Far North, past the Cold, Cold Ocean and just below the hill that looks like a baby whale, you’ll find Duane and his friends.

Duane is a sweet and curious young bear who makes frie
Published 2019 by Atheneum
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Average rating 4.10  · 
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Mel (Epic Reading)
This is a very cute chapter book for kids. There are lots of good, challenging vocabulary words, a few science moments and lots of morals about family and friendship. I enjoyed the Polar setting and our lead character, a Polar Bear, is easy to connect with. He moves to a new place and has to find a home, friends and discover what is all around him on his own. Luckily he doesn't stay alone for long and finds many adventures to go on.
A very smart thing done in The Very, Very Far North is that eac
Jay G
Oct 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Want to see more bookish things from me? Check out my YouTube channel:

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review*

Duane the Polar Bear and his many friends live in the Very, Very Far North. This is the story of their many adventures together.

This was an adorable middle grade book with loveable characters you instantly fall in love with. Each chapter explores how Duane met each of his friends and how he gave them their names. There are
Read this with my seven year old. We didn't want it to end, she was so sad last night when we finished. This is such a cute story about Duane the polar bear and his friends in the very very far north. There are so many great learning moments in this book about making friends with a little bit of science and environmental awareness thrown in too. What really makes this book so lovable is the language. Although meant for middle schoolers, I think this one would appeal to all ages. I certainly love ...more
Alex  Baugh
Sep 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
One summer day, a polar bear named Duane wanders along the shoreline of the Cold, Cold ocean looking for a good place to nap until he reaches the Very, Very Far North. There he discovers a shipwreck, and living on it is C.C., a very smart snowy white owl, who is at the moment studying Latin verbs. After chatting a bit with her, Duane finds a suitable cave, so suitable, he decides to stay, furnishing his new home with items found on board the shipwreck.

Duane loves a good nap, but being a curious
I absolutely loved The Very, Very Far North! Immediately after finishing it, I had to know if this was going to be a series, as I didn’t want this to be the end of Duane and his adventures in the Far Far North. This story captured my attention immediately and entertained me until I turned the very last page (make sure you read the letter from Duane at the very end). Filled with engaging adventures and exciting stories, this book made me laugh, smile, and touched my heart.

It wasn’t until after I
Sep 22, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: byl-reads

This book was just the cutest thing since Winnie the Pooh. In fact, it had a lot of the same feelings and evoked the same nostalgia as Pooh.

Duane is a Polar Bear who lives in the Very, Very Far North where he meets and befriends a bevy of arctic animals (and a few people) whom he gives delightful names. I adore the innocence, and the writing was beautiful. I appreciate that there was a lot of great discussion on being a good friend, and even some science and environmental topics.

This would
Debbie Smith
Sep 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
The minute I started reading this book it became obvious that the writing style was quite unique. And enjoyable.

Duane the polar bear is ready to take the reader on a wonderful adventure. He meets new friends, discovers a talent for giving names to his friends, and loves to explore the very, very far north.

One morning as he strolls down the cold ocean shoreline he spots a shipwreck in the distance. Duane, who is quite inquisitive swims out and discovers an owl working in the unsubmerged captain’s
May 21, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: middle-grade
This book is extremely charming. The characters are gentle and pleasant, and it would be a perfect read aloud, or as an early independent reading book for a child starting in on chapter books. It's certainly reminiscent of Winnie the Pooh, and I enjoyed it very much.
Lisa D
Jul 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Cute book about friendship! A great adventure
Jul 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own, children-s
Cute and witty. I think children would enjoy this book, and can understand the comparisons to Winnie the Pooh and Frog and Toad. Lots of humor, very advanced vocabulary, and clever conversations. There were also lessons to learn about accepting others for who they are, and standing up for yourself.

Jun 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I love the characters in this sweet story!
Elizabeth Mellen
Feb 26, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was adorable! It gave me some Winnie-the-Pooh vibes, which I loved. My 6 year old, who I was reading to, was not super interested in the beginning, but part way in she got much more into it and excited. I asked her what she would rate it and she also said 4 stars.
Mar 22, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this aloud with my 7-year old. We both enjoyed this sweet and gentle animal adventure. The language was quite sophisticated which made for some great discussions about vocabulary.
Mar 28, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
so sweet and wholesome! a good peaceful book for pandemic quarantine
Jan 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
It is beautiful indeed!
Kate N. Ewing
Nov 24, 2019 rated it it was ok
A cute little story about friendship for those who enjoy anthropomorphic animals. I can see myself reading this to my delighted niece and nephew at ages 6-8. For myself, the author just did not suspend my disbelief. For example, I love Winnie-ther-pooh. The premise that these are Christopher Robin’s plush animals that he is playing with in the garden works for me, so even as the animals come to life and develop their own lives and personalities, it still works for me; my disbelief has been effec ...more
Nov 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars. This is a very cute little book. I found it incredibly charming. The adventures of Duane the polar bear and all of his friends in the Very Very Far North past the Cold Cold Ocean is definitely something I would have been thrilled to read as a child. I also think it does very well at teaching exploration to children, as Duane learns about the environment around him, gets to know his friends, what they like and don't like, and how they can all live harmoniously together. Even if you are ...more
Cara Stevens
Oct 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
In the very, very far north, a curious polar bear named Duane sets out to make friends with his neighbors. Innocent as Pooh Bear, but with a sensitivity and openness not usually seen in heroes in this genre, Duane listens, observes, and interacts with those he meets in an effort to truly connect with them and make lifelong friends.

Quietly, carefully, and beautifully, a tale unfolds that, unbeknownst to the reader, becomes a roadmap to building EQ and emotional intelligence in a way young reader
Cheriee Weichel
Thanks to NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this book. It was published September 3rd 2019, by Atheneum Books for Young Readers, Simon & Schuster Canada.

If you are looking for a story that leaves you with a warm fuzzy feeling of contentment, and a deeper understanding of how friendship works, look no further.

The book blurb begins: "An inquisitive polar bear named Duane befriends an array of animals as he discovers where he belongs in this charming classic-in-the making that’s remi
Sep 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There is a lot to be said about middle-grade novels. It’s such a difficult age to appeal to as there are those who may not be strong readers who crave a great story. There are readers who are excellent readers and are looking for something a little more mature. Whichever reader you have in your life The Very, Very Far North by Dan Bar-el and illustrated by Kelly Pousette is a lovely middle grade novel that will appeal to a wide range of readers.

Although written as a chapter book, each chapter is
Pop Bop
Sep 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
Challenging, But Extremely Rewarding, Whimsy

Blurbs describe this book as "reminiscent" of Winnie the Pooh, and that feels fair, as far as it goes. But, as Zen as Winnie might be, the writing style of the Pooh books is comparatively simple and straightforward. In this book, Duane and his friends, while kind, mellow, and empathetic, are also a bit edgy, or touchy, or even grouchy. And I loved it.

My favorite Polar Bear is Daniel Pinkwater's Larry. While the Larry books are for younger readers, and
Nov 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kids-9-12-picks
Kids will get their chill on with Dan Bar-El’s novel “The Very, Very Far North,” with a cast of cold-landers certain to warm young readers’ hearts. This charming story is related by an unnamed narrator who adds his unique brand of humor.
Duane the polar bear is center stage — a gullible, lovable lug that thoroughly enjoys napping and eating. Duane is on the hunt for a new home when he happens upon a locale he adores about as far north as a bear can get.
It’s summertime as he follows the shore of
Mar 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
I saw this book's description as a "tale for gentle readers" and I thought "well, that sounds like S to me!" so I checked it out for him. He just turned 8 and this was probably the most complex/highest reading level book he has read on his own so far. I actually checked it out figuring I'd read it aloud to him, but then he ended up starting it on his own one evening and didn't seem to be struggling with it, so I encouraged him to carry on and finish it. He did finish it successfully and this ope ...more
Jill Jemmett
Dec 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is a bunch of stories about a polar bear named Duane, who lives in the very far north of Canada. He meets a variety of friends in his adventures, such as a pelican and a musk ox. They all have names based on how they look or act. For instance, the musk ox loves looking at himself and refers to himself as Handsome.

Duane and his friends reminded me of Winnie the Pooh and his friends. Duane is figuring out life in the Arctic, just as Winnie the Pooh is learning about life in the Hundred
Sep 20, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
(Read-aloud with my 5 1/2-year-old)

While this book doesn't have much of a plot, my daughter LOVED this story---she quickly got to know all the characters and thought their quirky personalities were hilarious. While I would have preferred a more linear storyline, I did appreciate that this book has a subtle message about how to be a good friend and how to respect that different people (or in this case, different animals) have different needs and comfort levels and boundaries that need to be set.
Apr 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars

This was an adorable book! To be honest, I didn't know what to expect going in. I just saw the cover and grabbed it. I was not disappointed at all! Better than I thought it would be. I can't wait to read the second book!

You fall in love with the characters and each of their unique personalities.

The writing was beautiful and the storytelling reminded me of Winnie-the-Pooh.

Each chapter had a nice message behind it.

I would love to see this as a tv show but I know they'll mess it up and ma
Aug 14, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Very, Very Far North by Dan Bar-el is a juvenile fiction book, probably ranging from 3-5th grade.

In the very, very far North lives a polar bear named Duane. Duane is a curious polar bear who loves the cold, cold ocean, exploring his surroundings and making new friends.

What follows is an account of Duane's explorations and the interesting friends he makes. Written in linear but somewhat episodic chapters, is Duane's story.

This was an interesting read, with an interesting narrative, which is o
Hope Lee
Mar 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Duane, who yes is a polar bear, travels to the Very Very Far North, which is a place where compasses go haywire. When Duane got there, there was an owl who appeared and was as white as snow. Duane meets many friends there such as Magic, Handsome, CiCi, the owl, and many others. When he meets each and every new friend, a brand new adventure begins.

My favorite character HAD to be CiCi. Not only is CiCi my best friends nickname, but also because when Duane is confuzzled* about something, CiCi is hi
Sep 21, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A really cute book that older children and parents can all enjoy. The book is not heavily plot driven and follows the tales of a bear named Duane who lives in the very, very far North. Duane is kind hearted, friendly and has a sense of curiosity of the world, much like a child would. On any given day, the reader gets taken on a little journey with Duane and his friends. I could almost see myself going on a mischievous adventure with Magic the Fox, or peppering C.C the Owl with my random question ...more
Macky Santiago
Aug 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It’s like Winnie the Pooh but for a new generation. Pretty sure it isn’t the first book of its kind out there but there is something about the journey you make with characters that make you form a bond... and some of those bonds are for life. The last 3 pages of the book did me in. Duane is such a compelling character for this day and age and even as an adult I connect so much to him. This book is pure and I would buy it for people with kids to help preserve whatever whimsey and wonder they have ...more
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Dan Bar-el is an award-winning children’s author, educator and storyteller. His writing includes chapter books, such as The Very, Very Far North and Audrey (cow), picture books, such as Not Your Typical Dragon and It's Great Being a Dad, and graphic novels, such as That One Spooky Night and Dog Night at the Story Zoo.

For the past twenty-five years, Dan has been working with children ages 3 to 13.

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