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Monday, October 5, 2020

S&S Children's Publishing presents... JUST BEYOND THE VERY, VERY FAR NORTH by Dan Bar-el - REVIEW!

Hi there!
Welcome back to Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers.

Today, we're heading up north, or rather JUST BEYOND it, to explore even further into the snowy white world of Duane and friends.  New obstacles are encountered (namely one particularly sneaky new fellow), stronger bonds are forged (the togetherness is so heartwarming!), and that hard word of "goodbye" is explored in more ways than one.  So, if you're ready, pack your thermals, and don your winter's warmest because we're going on an exploring walk through the pages of today's blog tour guest and book of choice...

Dan Bar-el
Illustrated by
Kelly Pousette
Atheneum Books for Young Readers

About the book...
The adventures of Duane the polar bear and his arctic friends continue in this charming sequel to the modern-day classic The Very, Very Far North, which Booklist compared to Winnie the Pooh in a starred review.

Past the place where icebergs shiver, you will find the Very, Very Far North, where Duane and his friends are sure to make you feel right at home. You might like to share a delicious Snow Delight with warmhearted Duane. While you’re slurping away, if C.C. suddenly asks you where you’ve come from, it’s not because she’s nosy; she is simply gathering scientific data. If Handsome, the musk ox, pays a visit, a quick hair combing is highly recommended. Should you notice a quiet caribou grazing nearby, well, that’s just Boo’s way of saying hello.

And if a less-than-friendly visitor arrives to sneak, shove, and shake things up, Duane and the others might discover that life isn’t always as peaceful as mid-late-afternoon nap. Fortunately, they know that change is as much a part of life as picnics and Tuesdays and cozy stories shared among friends.


Well, well, well...if it isn't the gang!


There's C.C., Magic, Boo, Duane, the Major, Twitch, and Handsome!  Oh, it's like I can feel the great big group hug they are all sharing...and that feeling carries itself throughout the story.  Through good times and bad, happiness and less-than-happiness, we get to know these furry, feathers, and horned friends THAT much better.  We grow to understand that some of us are better at things than others (like small talk with Magic versus C.C.)...and that's okay!  We accept that there are choices to be made in life, but they aren't always in our control (like the Major with his migration and Twitch's extra twitchiness)...but there are still things to learn from those situations.  We learn that secrets are not always meant to be shared, especially when they are not our own (like our dear sweet Boo)...there are those that will lead us astray much for their own amusement (that new "friend" I mentioned) and to our detriment...and that unexpected things can crop up in life that change the whole dynamic of our day to day lives, but friendship, TRUE friendship can whether any storm.

It was a grand adventure, as was to be expected from my first visit to the VERY, VERY FAR NORTH, and contained so many pearls of wisdom, one could make a necklace from them.  All the feelings, all the friendships, all the fun is certainly something that stays with you long after the last turn of the page.  Quite honestly, there was one part that actually brought me to tears, TEARS I tell you!  Handsome would be so upset because they were leaving trail marks down my cheeks...but I'm quite certain he, Duane, or any of the rest of the crew would be standing by with a tissue at the ready...because THAT'S what friends do!  They are there for one another, through thick and thin, and some of the new visitors of the VERY, VERY FAR NORTH have a thing or two to learn about the strength of those bonds, and these guys are just the friends to do it.


About the author...

Photograph © Dan Bar-el

Dan Bar-el is an award-winning children’s author, educator, and storyteller whose books include Audrey (cow), Not Your Typical Dragon, and The Very, Very Far North. Dan has worked with children ages three to thirteen as a school-age childcare provider, a preschool teacher, a creative drama teacher, and a creative writing teacher. He also teaches with the Creative Writing for Children Society. Dan lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, with artist and goldsmith Dominique Bréchault, and Sasha, the most adorable cat in the known universe. Visit him at

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About the illustrator...

Photograph © Kelly Pousette

Kelly Pousette is an illustrator and storyteller, originally from the west coast of British Columbia. She loves to create things, especially pictures. Her work has been featured in The Huffington Post Paris, The Brown Paper Bag blog, and Brightness Magazine. She currently resides in northern British Columbia with her husband and very large dog Clovis. The Very, Very Far North series are her first books.


Special thanks to Chantal at Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing for the ARC for review as well as the chance to bring this tour to you. (THANKS!) For more information on this title, the author, the illustrator, or the publisher, feel free to click through the links provided above. This title celebrates its BOOK BIRTHDAY tomorrow, October 6th, 2020 (woot woot!) via Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, so be on the lookout for it on a bookstore shelf or virtual retailer of your choosing. Be sure to check out the rest of the sites on the tour for more bookish fun!

Until next time, remember...if it looks good, READ IT!

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