Polar Bears and Penguins: A Compare and Contrast Book

School Library Journal - June 2014

Gr 1-4–"Time for some circumpolar knowledge! Here, Hall highlights the similarities and differences between two of the most popular ice-dwelling creatures. She starts off by tackling a common erroneous assumption, explaining that the animals live on the opposite poles of the planet. Hall also compares fur to feathers, cubs to chicks, solitary to group living, and other concepts. Children will enjoy the sharp, full-color photographs of the animals and their habitats, and many pages are full bleed, which allows readers to scan for interesting details of the ecosystem. This book would be excellent for sharing with large or small groups..."
Denise Schmidt, San Francisco Public Library

Kirkus Reviews - February 2014

"A set of comparisons present new and pre-readers with elementary pointers on both the poles and differences between animals.Photos of polar bears and of penguins on alternating spreads or pages with a few accompanying lines of simply phrased observations highlight differences between the two creatures—“Polar bears are covered in fur. / Penguins are covered in feathers”—as well as their respective Arctic and Antarctic habitats..."

Science Books & Films - December 2014

Polar Bears and Penguins does a great job comparing and contrasting polar bears and penguins and their respective homes, the Arctic and Antarctica. The misperception that polar bears and penguins share the same territory is a common one – I once saw that error perpetuated in a popular children’s magazine. This book tries to clear up that error by not only clearly stating that they live in different hemispheres but also clearly showing maps where both species live. The Arctic (which is a region shared by continents) is also compared and contrasted with Antarctica (an actual continent). There is a helpful ‘For Creative Minds’ section at the end that can be used by educators – it has more in-depth information as well as a True/False quiz and a penguin matching game (match the penguin species to its habitat).

Library Media Connection

With simple text and full-page photographs, this title provides young readers with a compare and contrast guide to two animals living at opposite ends of the Earth. The visually appealing photos offer a close look at polar bears and penguins and their natural habitats. Additional information about polar animals and the seasons is included with accompanying quizzes. More teaching activities, quizzes, and related websites can be found on the publisher’s website, as can an alignment to standards. The text is simple, perfect for early comprehension of nonfiction, and allows for further exploration of the topic. This title is simple and informative; it would be a great introduction to nonfiction text structures or to polar animals for young readers. Stacy Holbrook, School Librarian, Barstow Memorial School, Chittenden, Vermont [Editor’s Note: Available in e-book format and paperback.] RECOMMENDED

Midwest Book Review-February 2014

"Polar Bears and Penguins" is a lushly photo-illustrated Compare and Contrast nature educational book for students in grades K-3. "Polar Bears and Penguins" helps children compare and contrast cold weather creatures from opposite poles with many detailed, color photos of penguins and polar bears in their frozen habitats at both poles. At the end of the book, a section titled For Creative Minds suggests further learning activities related to the many comparisons, including study of seasons, polar mammals, a year at the poles (charts seasonal polar bear and penguin activities and life cycles), plus Polar Bear True and False and Penguin Matching. More material for teaching activities is available in a 15-30 page guide at "Polar Bears and Penguins" offers a fun, fact filled resource to study life among living mammals at the earth's poles.

Ithaca Child - October 2014

"The text is easy to read and the photographs stunning. One spread shows the diversity among penguins. There are small globe-maps in the corner to help children find where the animals live (though the maps are too small for much detail). At the back is a calendar showing what a polar bear family is doing in the north and what an emperor penguin family is doing at the same time on the other end of the earth."

San Francisco Book Review/Kids Book Review - December 2014

This book is really fun. It tells you how polar bears and penguins are alike and how they are different. It has great pictures of animals. It shows different types of penguins and bears. Before I read this book, I thought polar bears and penguins lived at the same end of the Earth. They don't. Polar bears live in the Arctic and penguins live in the Antarctic. I didn’t know about the yellow-eyed penguin until I read this book. I really like sloth bears because they’re so furry. I like that the mother polar bear protects her young, and that penguins gather in hundreds and thousands. The picture of the Northern Lights is so colorful- it’s amazing! At the end of the book, I found out that seals eat penguins, and get eaten by polar bears. That’s awesome! There are also activities at the end of the book to do. I think any kid who likes animals would like this book.
- Trajan, Age 6

Feathered Quill Book Review - March 2014

Newly independent readers can tackle this beginning nonfiction book with a bit of assistance with unusual words such as “hemisphere” or “rockhopper.” In the back of the book is an interesting comparative look at “A Year at the Poles” and several activities, including some that can be downloaded and printed from the publisher’s website. This would be an excellent book to read and discuss in the homeschool or classroom setting.

Children's Literary Classics - August 2014

Polar Bears and Penguins, by Katharine Hall is an engaging compare-and-contrast book that is sure to satisfy the curiosity of youngsters who are fascinated with wildlife.  Full of interesting facts about these two very unique sets of animals as well as their habitats, the Arctic and Antarctic, Polar Bears and Penguins is a book that will encourage further exploration into the lives and lifestyles of these polar creatures.  Delving into greater detail, the "For Creative Minds" section in the back of the book offers even more information in addition to quizzes which provide an excellent resource for educators.

Reader's Haven Reviews - March 2014

All-in-all, I find this a book I can easily recommend for the home library, public and school library, and gifting by doting grandparents or aunties.

Home School Book Review Blog - March 2014

The stunning photographs in Polar Bears and Penguins, along with author Katharine Hall’s instructive text, introduce young readers not only to these two fascinating creatures themselves, but also to the location and terrain of the polar regions, the many other types of bears and the various species of penguins, living habits of polar bears and penguins, and how the seasons are different at the two poles. The four back pages of “For Creative Minds” learning activities include further information on the seasons, polar mammals, and “A Year at the Poles,” plus polar bear true-false and penguin matching exercises, and more free activities are available online at the publisher’s website. Kids will learn that they might see polar bears and penguins near each other at a zoo, but they would never be found in the same habitats in the wild because they live at opposite ends of the Earth.

Heck of a Bunch - March 2014

Realistic pictures and absorbing facts make this an engaging book. There are not a lot of words on the pages and it's a quick read. The 'For Creative Minds' section at the back of the book further educates with information on polar mammals and seasons, a year at the Po les, penguin matching, and a Polar Bear True or False.

Batch of Books - April 2014

In this book, children will discover facts about polar bears, penguins, and their habitats.  It's not a long book, and there are only one or two sentences per page.  It's a good book for kids that are just starting out with non-fiction or that don't know much about the two animals.