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A runaway boy befriends a polar bear that’s being transported from Norway to London in this lyrical and timeless adventure story about freedom, captivity, and finding a family.
The polar bear is a royal bear, a gift from the King of Norway to the King of England. The first time Arthur encounters the bear, he is shoved in her cage as payback for stealing food. Restless and deadly, the bear terrifies him. Yet, strangely, she doesn’t harm him—though she has attacked anyone else who comes near. That makes Arthur valuable to the doctor in charge of getting the bear safely to London. So Arthur, who has run away from home, finds himself taking care of a polar bear on a ship to England.
Tasked with feeding and cleaning up after the bear, Arthur’s fears slowly lessen as he begins to feel a connection to this bear, who like him, has been cut off from her family. But the journey holds many dangers, and Arthur knows his own freedom—perhaps even his life—depends on keeping the bear from harm. When pirates attack and the ship founders, Arthur must make a choice—does he do everything he can to save himself, or does he help the bear to find freedom?
Based on the real story of a polar bear that lived in the Tower of London, this timeless adventure story is also a touching account of the bond between a boy and a bear.
About the Author
Susan Fletcher is the acclaimed author of Journey of the Pale Bear; as well as the Dragon Chronicles, composed of Dragon’s Milk, Flight of the Dragon Kyn, Sign of the Dove, and Ancient, Strange, and Lovely; and the award-winning Alphabet of Dreams, Shadow Spinner, Walk Across the Sea, and Falcon in the Glass. Ms. Fletcher lives in Bryan, Texas. Visit her at Susan Fletcher.com.
"I simply adore this novel. It has it all: gorgeous prose, fascinating history, riveting adventure. But it’s the unlikely tender friendship between a lonely boy and a polar bear that makes this a story to cherish. A lovely little miracle of a book."
-Katherine Applegate, Newbery Medal Winning author of The One and Only Ivan
“Master storyteller Susan Fletcher creates a breathtaking adventure. Every reader will want to be Arthur, bonding with that exquisite bear, in their search for true freedom.”
-Kirby Larson, Newbery Honor Winning author of Hattie Big Sky
"I loved every single thing about this large-hearted and riveting medieval adventure."
–William Alexander, National Book Award Winning author of Goblin Secrets
* "A stupendous coming-of-age tale stuffed with adventure and laced with deeper questions."
— Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW
"Fletcher (Falcon in the Glass, 2013) blends high-seas action-adventure with a heartwarming animal-human friendship. Based on historical events, this is a heartfelt tale with plenty of middle-grade appeal."