Cover of Polar: Wildlife at the Ends of the Earth
Polar: Wildlife at the Ends of the Earth - introduction

Polar: Wildlife at the Ends of the Earth

Grade 2-6
Released in 2023
Reading Level:

From the author of the critically acclaimed The Boreal Forest, a stunning exploration of the animals that have adapted to survive in Earth’s harsh polar regions.

The Arctic and Antarctica, at opposite ends of the Earth, have much in common: bitter cold, ferocious winds and darkness lasting six months. Despite these harsh conditions, many animals have adapted to stay alive in the polar regions. This evocative and beautifully illustrated book from the award-winning team of author L. E. Carmichael and illustrator Byron Eggenschwiler explores how animals at opposite ends of the Earth survive using similar adaptations. There’s the arctic fox who is protected from the ice by the fur on the soles of her feet, the emperor penguins huddling in groups around their chicks to keep everyone warm, and the narwhal using echolocation to find a crack in the surface ice to breathe. It’s a fascinating journey through a year in the polar regions, where animals don’t just survive – they thrive!

Each spread in the book is devoted to a month and includes a themed introduction and two stories on opposites pages, one about an animal in the Arctic and one about an animal in Antarctica. Extra spreads cover topics such as seasons, winter weather and types of ice. The book concludes with a timely description of the disruptions that climate change is causing to the polar regions, and how this will have global consequences. A glossary, further reading, author’s sources, an index and ideas for what children can do to help are included. There are strong life science curriculum applications here in animal habitats and animal adaptation, migration, hibernation and cooperation.

Click here to download the free Teachers’ Guide from Kids Can Press.

Click here for Polar Presents: The Official Activity Guide and Other Free Resources Around the Web

Best Of Lists:

IndigoKids Christmas Gift Guide – 2023

Chicago Public Library – Best Informational Books for Older Readers 2023

Starred Selection in CCBC’s Best Books for Children and Teens (Fall 2023)

2024, OLA Best Bets Top Ten, Junior Nonfiction Category

2024 Green Earth Book Awards, Recommended Reading



  First-rate from top to bottom.  
— Starred Review - Kirkus
  Carmichael's often lyrical text engages the reader and perfectly captures the setting.  
— Highly Recommended - Canadian Review of Materials
  As a biologist I wish I had read this book while growing up!  
— The Library - Goodreads
  This would make a great classroom resource for any upper elementary teacher.  
— Amanda Sanders - Goodreads
  A fantastic resource for student projects on polar animals and climate.  
— Madeline McEntire, Librarian - Granite Media
  Without a doubt, Polar: Wildlife at the Ends of the Earth ranks as one of my top recommendations for kids who share my interest for cold climates.  
— Amanda Schmieder - Travel nItch
  Carmichael is a stellar writer... a fabulous resource for language arts and science.  
— Adrienne Mason - Hakai Magazine
  L.E. Carmichael writes so eloquently, I can hear Sir David Attenborough’s voice in my head narrating through the entire read.  
— Storytime with Stephanie