Knut: How One Little Polar Bear Captivated the World

by Juliana Hatkoff

Paperback, 2007


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Call number

J 599.7 Ha


Scholastic Press (2007), 29 pages


True story of a polar bear cub raised by a bear keeper at Zoo Berlin.

Local notes


User reviews

LibraryThing member laurenryates
This captivating little book tells the story of a polar bear cub and how he was raised by Thomas Dorflein, a chief bear keeper at Zoo Berlin. Thomas raised Knut like his own child. He stayed at the zoo and went above and beyond his duties to make sure that Knut survived, as many animals do not
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survive without their biological parents to care for them. The world became involved in this relationship when a newspaper reported that Knut should not have been rescued because in the wild he would not have been rescued. Many people's opinions differed from this man's, which caused a whirlwind sensation. Knut was now a celebrity. This book was very touching, documenting the relationship between Knut and Thomas in a very special way. I loved reading it and I think many children will find it engaging as well.
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LibraryThing member gundulabaehre
I find this book heartwarming, but due to the fact that Knut, the polar bear died in 2011, and that his caretaker, Thomas Dörflein had previously passed away in 2008, the story also feels quite bittersweet (even potentially melancholy). Like other books by the Hatkoffs, the photographs are again
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the star here, amazing and absolutely wonderful (for me, there is nothing quite as cute and as sweet as a fluffy white polar bear cub exploring its surroundings, and Knut also seems to have been extraordinarily photogenic). The narrative (while again rather repetitive and dense) is flowing and descriptive, and although I still find the text not nearly as evocative as the endearing pictures, the narrative is readable and informative, a more than adequate accompaniment to the photographs.

While I am glad that the Hartkoffs did briefly mention the controversies surrounding Knut's birth and rescue in the text, I really think that they should have somewhat expanded on this (in my opinion) important aspect of the story (perhaps not within the text proper, but a more complete and detailed account in the back materials would definitely have improved Knut: How One Little Polar Bear Captivated The World).

Personally, I also think that in light of the fact that both Knut and his original caretaker have since passed away, Knut: How One Little Polar Bear Captivated The World should really be republished with these additional details added (either as a preface, or again, as an addition to the back materials). I would generally not hesitate to recommend this book. However, I do believe that parents, teachers, librarians (anyone who might be reading this book with or to children) should be anticipating potential questions about Knut (perhaps even about some of the controversies surrounding his life and death) and should thus be prepared to provide answers.
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LibraryThing member molbhall
Anyone in search of a heartwarming true story in board book form should look no further than this book about Knut and his handler/adoptive father. It covers a day in the life of this fuzzy polar bear who lives at Zoo Berlin. Adults purchasing this book may remember hearing about Knut when he was
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first brought to the zoo several years ago, but he will be a new friend for most children who pick up this book.

While it is a board book and therefore meant for very young children, it could even be used as an easy reader text, albeit a very short one, due to its simple plot and language. The photographs that illustrate the book are very cute, and they show what is described in the text. The images will appeal to anyone who loves fluffy baby animals. The story and photographs are sweet, but this true story is familiar, even to the youngest readers. It may not be groundbreaking, but it will please animal lovers and anyone looking for an adorable story to read with a child.
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LibraryThing member km057441
This is a non-fiction book about a baby polar bear named Knut. When he was a baby his mother could not take care of him so a man named Thomas Dorflein, a chief bear keeper at a Berlin zoo. The book tells all about this orphaned polar bear and Thomas in an easy to read story so that young
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readers can understand. Each page has photographed pictures of Knut and also has more scientific facts about polar bears next to the pictures. The story takes the reader on the journey that it took to raise Knut and the difficulties that Thomas faced each day. The end of the book allows readers to research additional information about polar bears and their habitats.

Personal Reaction
I thought this was a great book that allows young readers to explore non-fiction. It was wonderful at keeping me interested and involved in the story. Because the information is put together in a story it is less intimidating for a young student to gather information from the text. I enjoyed the real photographs of the baby polar bear and also the additional facts offered to the reader.

Classroom Extensions
1. The teacher could read the entire book to the class as a part of a unit on arctic animals and then have students write summaries on the information presented.
2. The teacher can copy pages from the book and hand out to students to pick out the various facts from each page given out. Students can then prepare a paper to present to the class.
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LibraryThing member wichitafriendsschool
When Knut was first born, he was no bigger than a snowball. His mother was unable to care for him, so a bear keeper at Zoo Berlin, Thomas Dörflein, became Knut's foster father-sleeping next to the little cub, feeding him from bottles, and helping him learn how to play and swim. This is the true
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story of a little bear who needed a family, and the extraordinary outpouring of love he received from Thomas, from the zoo, and from people all around the world.
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Triple Crown Awards (Classic (Runner-Up/Honor Book) — 2010)
Pennsylvania Young Reader's Choice Award (Nominee — Grades K-3 — 2010)
Buckaroo Book Award (First runner-up — 2009)


Original publication date


Physical description

29 p.


0545054532 / 9780545054539


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