The Very, Very Far North by Dan Bar-el // Amanda // First Read Review


Image result for the very very far north

Okay, first, this book should be a children’s classic, right next to Winnie the Pooh. At least if I had a say in it, it would be right up there. I will write more about it, but the from-kid-to-adult messages are so important. I will definitely be reading this to Knox ASAP!

I had the most lovely reading experience with this book. Jason took Knox for the day and gave me the car to go out, and honestly, I have a hard time knowing where to go and what to do. I was going to go to the park, but I drove past Sonic and pulled in for a beloved Dr. Pepper. This book took almost an hour and a half to read and I did it all at once. I loved the illustrations, story, and friends, and went home with a happy heart and lighter attitude.

I already compared this book to Winnie to Pooh, but the structure is definitely inspired by it – every chapter introduces a new friend from the arctic to our main character – Duane the polar bear. Each friend is different in every way, including animal, appearance, personality, and that fills my most favorite book trope: found family. Even as an adult I could see myself in some characters more than others, but none of them were a stereotype, they all stood out.

Duane is a polar bear and an honestly incredible main character. He is completely open to new friendships and respects their requests and opinions even if he doesn’t understand or agree. At one point, Duane’s friend C.C. the snowy owl asks Duane if he wouldn’t touch her when he goes into a hug. Duane apologizes and absolutely respects her request even though he doesn’t fully understand. What an important lesson and an incredible way to write about friendship in a book for young kids. This is the kind of message that sticks around for years.

As an adult and mom of an 18-month-old, I highly recommend a book that encourages respectful friendships, curiosity, and openness to new experiences. This is going to be an incredible book to read to Knox a chapter at a time as he gets older, and I enjoyed in myself, even as an adult.

Illustration from


Started: December 31st
Finished: December 31st
Read Time: 1h 18m over 1 day
Average pages/h: 207.2
Most pages read in one day: 272

Other December 2019 Reads:
The Good Luck Girls by Charlotte Nicole Davis
The Mime Order by Samantha Shannon
The Beautiful by Renée Ahdieh (DNF – may finish later)
Eight Will Fall by Sharah Harian (DNF – may finish later)
Darth Bane: Path of Destruction by Drew Karpyshyn
The Very, Very Far North by Dan Bar-el

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