HomeAll postsPolar Bear in Sydney Harbour by Beck and Robin Feiner

Polar Bear in Sydney Harbour by Beck and Robin Feiner

A review by Emma Streeton

“Sydney Harbour is home to many amazing things, but polar bears are not one of them. Sydney is Down Under, and polar bears are from, well, Up over.”

A polar bear in Sydney Harbour? When Hannah spots a polar bear in Sydney Harbour, she knows something isn’t right … But even worse, none of the adults seem to notice him at all. Will Hannah be able to help the bear find his way back home?

Environmental comedy

This gorgeous picture book cleverly introduces children to the environmental theme of climate change. Done with humor and incongruity, The Polar Bear in Sydney Harbour is sure to fascinate and intrigue young minds. It is a gentle way for parents and young children to explore some of the possible effects of climate change, particularly the most vulnerable animals.

Bookworm (aged 7) reaction

My youngest bookworm enjoyed this book, amused by the idea that only Hannah can see the polar bear… The term “silly grownups” may have been mentioned! To my adult mind, Beck and Robin Steiner are subtly suggesting how easy it is to become self-absorbed and occupied in our own lives. So much so we don’t stop to see what is going on around us and take action.


The illustrations by Beck Feiner are colorful and easily draw the reader in. Iconic Sydney is shown with places like the Opera House, Bondi Beach and the Sydney ferries all making an appearance and no doubt familiar to many Australian kids. The café with the Lilo, Tam Sams and Wedgiemite was a highlight for my bookworm. I particularly like the way the illustrations clearly portray the emotions of Hannah and the polar bear. The brief relationship they have is gentle and heart-warming, something that strongly emanates through the pictures.

The verdict

A beautiful picture book, with a very important underlying theme. One kids of all ages will enjoy and one that can introduce some interesting discussions. The Polar Bear in Sydney Harbour is an enjoyable read to share with your kids.

Read this if you enjoyed The Lost Thing by Shaun Tan and the Lost Thing short.

Book details

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
ISBN: 9780733339400
ISBN-10: 0733339409
Imprint: ABC Books – AU (HarperCollins Australia)
Released: 02/09/2020
Format: hardcover, 32 pages
Category: Children’s, Teenage & educational / Social issues: environment & green issues (Children’s – Teenage)

The Polar Bear in Sydney Harbour: a polar bear and a girl sit on an ice floe with the Sydney Harbour Bridge and city skyline behind them

Nalini is an award-winning writer and artist as well as managing editor of Dark Matter Zine.


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