Poles Apart

Jeanne Willis, illustrated by Peter Jarvis
AUD $22.99

A warm and gorgeous tale about unlikely friends, following dreams and realising there's just no place like home.

Everybody knows that penguins belong at the South Pole and polar bears live at the North Pole-but what would happen if, one day, a family of picnicking penguins accidentally got lost? When the hapless Pilchard-Brown family find themselves at completely the wrong pole, they need Mr White, the friendly polar bear, to guide them all the way home.

Author bio:

Jeanne Willis wrote her first book when she was five -a slim volume about cats written in pencil and stitched together so that it looked like a 'real' book. After that, there was no turning back. Having been fired from her Saturday job selling cowboy boots in the Kings Road, and after a brief career as a reptile vet's assistant, she worked as a copywriter and had her first picture book published at the age of 21 (which she wrote whilst pretending to be busy creating adverts for cognac). She has since written over 300 books and has won several awards which are arranged in the attic where she works.

Peter did lots of different jobs before creating his first children's book including a bingo caller, a bouncy castle painter, a record sleeve designer and an animation director. He's always doodled characters, and thinks that everything he's done in the past has helped make him a better children's picture book illustrator and writer.maybe not the bingo calling. Peter wants the books he creates to be very personal, and particularly loves the nature of children's books, what they can do and how they can be kept and loved as little treasures.

Category: Picture books
ISBN: 9780857634924
Publisher: Nosy Crow
Imprint: Nosy Crow
Pub Date: September 2015
Page Extent: 32
Format: Hard Cover
Age: 3 - 6
Subject: Picture books

Teachers Reviews

Everyone knows that penguins are found at the South Pole not the North Pole. But when the Pilchard-Browns get lost on the way to their picnic things change. Mr and Mrs and Peeky, Poots and Pog find themselves floating on an iceberg that drifts through days and nights until they discover a strange something on another iceberg. It turns out to be Mr White the polar bear who tells them that the South Pole is 12 430 miles in the opposite direction!

But Mr White has always wanted to go to the South Pole and so the Pilchard-Browns follow Mr White – always on the lookout for a picnic place. The ice floe they are on isn’t safe with killer whales floating around, and America was too busy – and it wasn’t home. Even though England was charming it still wasn’t home. And so the journey continues, through countries large and small as they make their way south. But still no place is home, not even for Mr White.

This is a quirky story, aptly named for the theme that runs through it that even though we can follow our dreams there is a place for each of us that is home. Just as we journey through life we can meet many different types who can still be friends even though everything about us is poles apart. It could be a good read-aloud for new students starting school for the first time to show that friends can come from many different places, as well as reaching out to those new to this country so they can see themselves in a story. It might even serve as a vehicle for a class version – if Mr White and the Pilchard-Browns visited all the countries represented in our class, where would they go? It could be an engaging introduction to getting to know each other, as well as mapping. More to this than meets the eye.
Barbara Braxton, Teacher Librarian, NSW