Polar the Titanic Bear

Polar the Titanic Bear

by Daisy Corning Stone Spedden, Laurie McGaw, Laurie McGraw
     
 

Written for her son by an American heiress whose family survived the 1912 sinking of the "Titanic", this account of the Edwardian life and of the disaster is told through the eyes of the young boy's teddy bear. Illustrated with watercolors and family photographs, this book makes an ideal read-aloud.  See more details below

Overview

Written for her son by an American heiress whose family survived the 1912 sinking of the "Titanic", this account of the Edwardian life and of the disaster is told through the eyes of the young boy's teddy bear. Illustrated with watercolors and family photographs, this book makes an ideal read-aloud.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In a curious but successful hybrid of fact and fiction, an affable stuffed polar bear is the narrator of this true tale written in 1913 by Spedden, an American heiress who traveled extensively with her husband and their son, Douglas. Polar, a character modeled on an actual toy that Douglas received as a Christmas gift, offers a chatty travelogue of the Speddens' visits to such locales as Madeira, Algiers and Paris. The bear's detailed account may prove tedious to the target audience-until midway through the book, when the Speddens and Polar board a new luxury liner called the Titanic. The family survives the disastrous collision with the iceberg (however, according to an epilogue by Leighton H. Coleman III, a descendant of the author, Douglas died in a car accident three years later). Snapshots from the Speddens' photo album and other memorabilia (e.g., a 1910 postcard of the F.A.O. Schwartz toy store, where Polar is purchased; a ticket entitling the bearer to use of the Turkish baths aboard the Titanic) provide intriguing glimpses of a long-gone lifestyle. Also evoking the Edwardian era are McGaw's romantic paintings, equally effective in their portrayal of the drama at sea and the love between a boy and his bear. Ages 8-12. (Sept.)
Children's Literature - Judy Silverman
Polar was a real stuffed bear who was with his human family on the Titanic when it sank in 1912. Daisy Corning Stone Spedden wrote the story and gave it to her son Douglas for a Christmas present in 1913. This little story about the bear and the photographs of the people and artifacts of the time transport us to an "Upstairs, Downstairs" world that we can only imagine. Polar nearly went down with the Titanic, but he was rescued and safely reunited with his Master. The book is illustrated with lovely watercolors as well as photographs. A charming story, if a little old-fashioned, that proves that children of all eras are fascinated by the same things.
School Library Journal
Gr 2 Up-In 1913, a society matron wrote a story for her young son to recount the events of an adventurous year of travel that climaxed in their homeward passage on the ill-fated Titanic. She uses the voice of Douglas's favorite toy, a stuffed bear named Polar, to narrate the pleasures of beaches and cities, the child's bout with measles, the excitement of boarding the luxury liner, and the terror of the long night at sea in a lifeboat as the ship went down. Full-page realistic paintings show the Speddens at home in Tuxedo Park, New York, and abroad. Sepia photographs of the family give substance to their elegant Edwardian lifestyle and blend well with the handsome watercolors. The inclusion of realia-postcards from Europe and tickets from the Titanic-adds color and authenticity to the photos. Well designed and thoughtfully researched, the book offers entertainment, history, and a glimpse of a vanished world. It is a perfect choice for family reading, where an adult can speak of time and change to a child whose interest is captured by Polar's tale of adventure, and who is just beginning to understand the concept of generations and past lives.-Shirley Wilton, Ocean County College, Toms River, NJ

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780316809092
Publisher:
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication date:
09/01/2001
Edition description:
First U.S. Paperback Edition
Pages:
64
Product dimensions:
10.00(w) x 10.00(h) x 0.25(d)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Daisy Corning Stone Spedden penned the manuscript for Polar, The Titanic Bear for her son, Douglas, after the family survived the Titanic disaster in 1912. The original booklet was found, among other items, by Leighton H. Coleman III, a distant relation of the Spedden family, in his grandfather's barn. After sending a copy of the story to the Titanic Historical Society, it came to the attention of Madison Press Books, who eventually published the story with Little, Brown and Company.

Laurie McGaw is well known for her portraits of renowned figures as well as her award-winning illustrations in Polar The Titanic Bear and African Princess. Her work has been featured in books, magazines, and private and corporate collections for over thirty years.

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