What would a young child do with a polar bear as a pet? Author Gabby Dawnay’s newest installment to the “If I Had a… ” series explores just that. In If I Had a Polar Bear, a rambunctious and highly imaginative young girl can think of plenty of things to do with a big, furry polar bear. She would ride on his back to school on a snowy day because… why, polar bears love snow, of course! She would let her polar bear give her swimming lessons, she would help it catch fish for a tasty meal, and she would have a hilarious snow ball fight with it. The girl imagines ice skating with her bear and snuggling up with it at night. She even imagines her lovable bear pulling Santa’s sleigh to help out with the presents on Christmas Eve.

This book (as well as the entire series) is not only adorable, it’s clever too. Young readers are so busy imagining all the fun things to do with a polar bear as a pet, they probably don’t realize that they’re learning all about the animal in the process. They learn that polar bears are strong, they prefer the ice, and they love the water. They learn these majestic bears are hunters and eat seals as well as fish. They also learn that these snow-white polar bears are not even white — their fur is translucent and reflects the light. How’s that for a reference book?

As always, Ms. Dawnay’s sentences are short and vibrant, and her meter is on point. The vocabulary is perfect for kindergarten through grade three, and the pace is just vibrant enough to keep children smiling and turning those pages.

Use this book as a free time read-aloud favorite, or as a supplement to courses on the lives of wild animals. It can even be used to inspire a session on creative writing or imagination. Enjoy!

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