Review: Polar bear tale combines rhymes with facts and photos

A fun and educational picture book featuring the author’s images of polar bears and written in rhyming couplets, Princess by Dennis Fast is a great book for two- to five-year-olds looking to learn more about wildlife native to Northern Manitoba in a fun poetic form. 

Published by Heartland Associates in Winnipeg, Princess tells the story of the mother for whom the book is named and her twin cubs that come along later, Braveheart and Wimpy. The photos by Fast, a retired teacher and principal who is passionate about birding and photography, show polar bears in all seasons and situations, from atop the Arctic ice to lolling in a field of fireweed. 

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Forty-two pages long but easily read in 15 minutes or less, Princess begins with a general description of the Arctic environment and its inhabitants, then focuses in on the title character as she plays in the snow, heads out onto Hudson Bay as winter approaches, and takes refuge in a den, from which she emerges with her two young cubs. In addition to the story, the book features factual tidbits as well as an activity page at the back. 

My young test reader, who is slightly above the age range recommended by the publisher, had no trouble reading the story and enjoyed the part when Princess had her twins as well as seeing photos of the other animals that live in the same environment as polar bears.

The book sells for $19.95 and is available via Heartland Associates. For more information, visit their website at

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