"The Very, Very Far North"

Kids will get their chill on with Dan Bar-El’s “The Very, Very Far North,” a novel with a cast of cold-landers certain to warm young readers’ hearts. This charming story is related by an unnamed narrator who adds his unique brand of humor.

Duane the polar bear is center stage — a gullible, lovable lug that thoroughly enjoys napping and eating. Duane is on the hunt for a new home when he happens upon a locale he adores about as far north as a bear can get.

It’s summertime as he follows the shore of the Cold, Cold Ocean, and on the horizon he spots a shipwreck. Onboard is an owl that becomes his fast friend.

Kids will chuckle at Duane’s actions and the antics of his pals. Thanks to Duane, each of the Arctic animals gets a creative name. Among them are C.C., the smart owl on the wrecked ship with a penchant for experimentation and big words; Beautiful, a vane musk ox who adores combing his locks; Magic, a zippy snow fox with energy plus; Major Puff a puffin passionate about marching to and fro; and Boo, an incredibly shy, soft-spoken caribou.

The comical narrator states at the start of the book that “ . . . all good stories start on a Thursday,” so no doubt Bar-El began “The Very Far, Far North” on that day of the week. It’s laugh-out loud funny as the characters interact and engage in wintertime adventures. Illustrations by Kelly Pousette dot the punchy chapters of this kid-pleaser.

Ages 8-12.