September 5, 2019

Macky Reads: The Very, Very Far North

The Very Very Far North is a series of short stories that revolve around the every day life of Duane the Polar Bear. He moves to the Very Very Far North, settles in and just starts making friends.  Reading this book felt like a return to being a young reader, when you feel awesome for attempting to pick up a real book at either the school library or at the bookstore. Because this, well, it is a right proper novel for kids!

Duane is such a compelling character for this day and age and, even as an adult, I connect so much to him. And because I’m an adult, I see some pretty cool undertones as I read this book and see the friendships blossom. Like how this one character doesn’t like to be hugged and is comfortable expressing boundaries that don’t ruin the friendship… and surprisingly (or should I say refreshingly), our polar bear remembers and withholds hugs. Their friendship is stronger for it! Or how another character is so painfully in need of affirmation and their friends are as nice about it as they can be. 

But what really won me over is the combination of how pure Duane’s journey is and the simple yet profound way his tale is told. 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 with them... and some of those bonds are for life. This novel is an anchor to remind you that things can be this simple, and that sometimes, days do get a change of heart and decide to take you want to go. This book is pure and I would definitely buy it for people with kids to help preserve whatever whimsy and wonder they have. 

The Very, Very Far North by Dan Bar-El and illustrated by Kelly Pousette
Publication Date: September 3, 2019
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers

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 friends with everyone he meets—whether they’re bossy, like Major Puff the puffin, or a bit vain, like Handsome the musk ox, or very, very shy, like Boo the caribou. For these arctic friends, every day is a new adventure!

Author Bio
Dan Bar-el is an award-winning children’s author, educator, and storyteller whose books include Audrey (cow), Not Your Typical Dragon, and The Very, Very Far North. Dan has worked with children ages three to thirteen as a school-age childcare provider, a preschool teacher, a creative drama teacher, and a creative writing teacher. He also teaches with the Creative Writing for Children Society. Dan lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, with artist and goldsmith Dominique Br├ęchault, and Sasha, the most adorable cat in the known universe. Visit him at

Illustrator Bio
Kelly Pousette is an illustrator and storyteller, originally from the west coast of British Columbia. She loves to create things, especially pictures. Her work has been featured in The Huffington Post Paris, The Brown Paper Bag blog, and Brightness Magazine. She currently resides in northern British Columbia with her husband and very large dog Clovis. The Very, Very Far North is her first book.

Check out the rest of the blog on the tour!
September 2 – The Story Sanctuary
September 3 – Kirsti Call
September 4 – Randomly Reading
September 5 – Alexa Loves Books
September 6 – Jean Little Library
September 7 – Tale Out Loud
September 9 – Insane About Books

We're lucky enough to be able to give away one finished hardcover copy of The Very, Very Far North today, thanks to the lovely folks at Simon & Schuster! This giveaway is US only.


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