February 2017

Adrift : An Odd Couple of Polar Bears  

By Jessica Olien

I am so happy to recommend this month’s book written and illustrated by Jessica Olien.  I am extra happy to share that Jessica will be our guest author/illustrated at our Read-a-thon kick-off celebration in the auditorium of the Carroll Gardens Public Library on Saturday, March 18th. It is always exciting to find an author/illustrator for our annual event. This year, I reached out to several friends in the children’s book publishing field and to my delight, friend and former parent Donna Bray (of Balzer & Bray, an imprint of Harper Collins) recommended Jessica.  Donna sent me the proof (F&G) for Adrift, I read it and fell in love!  I promptly contacted Jessica who agreed to be our guest. Jessica is also the author/illustrator of The Blobfish Book and Shark Detective!

Unlikely friendship is the theme of Adrift. Two polar bears do not like each other because they are so different. Hazel is a quiet daydreamer and Karl is gregarious and loud. Karl thinks Hazel is mean because all she wants to do is sit alone and read; she never wants to play with the other bears. Hazel does not like that Karl is loud and smells like old fish! Suddenly, with a big crack, the two polar bears with polar opposite personalities find themselves floating together on an iceberg.  The floe melts, and to their delight, Karl and Hazel discover they are not so different after all. The bears become best friends. 
The illustrations in Adrift are sweet and the colors are true. The author’s note at the end of the book shares polar bear facts and for older children, it can also spark a discussion about polar bears and the shrinking North Pole. In addition, Jessica writes about what you can do to help save polar bears and preserve their artic habitat; she includes websites to learn more about artic polar bears.
I predict that Adrift will become a bookshelf favorite and I am really looking forward to learning more about the book and meeting Jessica at our Read-a-thon event in March!

2017Janie Greene