The Polar Bear Explorers’ Club

The Polar Bear Explorers ClubI WANT A MINIATURE DINOSAUR!

The Polar Bear Explorer’s Club  is the latest middle grade novel by Alex Bell, illustrated by Tomislav Tomic.

Stella is a snow orphan, and has been taken in and raised as a daughter by the fabulous Felix, a famous explorer. She is instantly the coolest hero I’ve ever come across because she has a pet Polar Bear. Felix is a wonderful adult character, because he’s is terribly rich and terribly nice. Unfortunately, the rules of the Polar Bear Explorer Club state that girls can’t go on expeditions. Stella is not happy.

Thankfully, Felix is anarchic as well as nice, and so when Stella gets her wish to go with Felix on an expedition to the frozen Icelands of the north, her adventure begins. She and three other children, a pack of little wolves and one unicorn get spilt up from the adults, and have to make their way back to the ship before it leaves them there.

This book is full of magic and possibilities, and is really wonderfully enriched by Tomic’s sumptuous illustrations throughout, which give it a classic feel. I loved the riot of magical creatures, Frosties, golden geese, carnivorous cabbages, trolls and MINIATURE DINOSAURS, but part of the real joy of it lies in the friendships that develop between Stella, Beanie, Shay and Ethan. They are all distinct and special, but for me Ethan in particular is a great character, because he makes Stella really think about what it means to be kind.

I defy anyone to read The Polar Bear Explorers’ Club and not become totally enchanted.

I’d happily give up living in this reality to live where Stella Snowflake lives, a world where unicorns and fairies are real, and you can play with miniature dinosaurs. Did I mention the miniature dinosaurs?


Alex Bell
Tomislav Tomic
Faber & Faber

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