Lars Takes Action

The little polar bear loves his home in the snow and ice of the arctic, but in the books the temperatures are getting warmer every year.

“In the first volume, nobody was aware that Lars’s environment was in so much danger. But in the course of time, this has become more and more apparent. It would be strange not to mention this. Lars’s actions are governed by the urge to survive. He is not aggressive or reckless. He is simply defending his own home.”

Hans de Beer

Climate change and the humans’ invading the natural habitat is just something that’s out there, but it’s never moralized or exhausted. In Hans de Beer’s new book Little Polar Bear and the Panda goes on an adventurous trip to China, but it’s evident that life in the arctic has changed:

“Lars’s mother and father often complained that there was a lot less ice now that the weather was warmer and so more and more people were coming to the Arctic. “What are all these humans doing here with their stinky machines?” his father would grumble. But the people had never been so close before. Full of curiosity, Lars followed the snowcat at a safe distance. In the bay lay a gigantic ship, which was brightly lit. Lars watched as two snowcats drove up a ramp and into the belly of the ship.

Lars follows them and the adventure begins.

All the Little Polar Bear stories begin in the same way: “We see the little bear alone in the snow and ice. It’s like the starting point of a children’s game from which different adventures can develop. In their dreamlike, make-believe adventures, children also process real fears and experiences. For the little polar bear, it’s climate change and destruction of the environment that are reflected in the adventures. Hans de Beer would find it strange to create books about a polar bear and to ignore these issues. He’s putting more and more emphasis on them, although he never moralizes, because even when he was a child, he did not like to be lectured.”—Pascale Blatter, editor of Schweizer Buchhandel.

There is one book that’s an exception to the rule. In Little Polar Bear Takes a Stand Hans de Beer takes a more explicit stance on climate change.

Spring had arrived at the North Pole. Lars, the little polar bear, poked his nose out of his den and sniffed the air. “It’s nice and warm!” he cried. “Much too warm!” grumbled Lars’s father. “It’s even warmer than last year.” Just at that moment, a helicopter flew over their heads. “Yet another one of those ear-splitting ice-shakers!” he said.

Lars wakes up from his winter sleep. But something has changed. Where he had previously found his food, there’s not a single fish to be seen. The seals and seagulls can’t find any food either. At first the animals blame one another, but then they find out  what the real problem is: human beings. Everyone’s favorite little polar bear takes a stand for what’s right in this story about friendship, working together, and the environment. Help! Together with his friends, Lars begins a bold campaign to recapture their lost territory. In helping to put things right Lars proves just what a brave little hero he is.

Here you can read some sample pages.

Scientific facts blend seamlessly with the fantasy of literal animal activists.

—Kirkus Reviews

Leave a Reply