163 pages
ISBN 0-7736-7467-5
DDC jC813'.54




Reviewed by Lorraine Douglas

Lorraine Douglas is the youth services co-ordinator at the Winnipeg
Public Library.


Fifteen-year-old Sharla Dunfield and her family have just moved to
Churchill, Manitoba, from Ottawa. Sharla, filled with anger over moving,
rages against the people at school and the rich tourists who flock to
the Polar Bear Capital of the world. She meets Jake, a photographer from
New York City, who hires her to help him with his shoots. Sharla keeps
the job a secret from her parents, who are both depressed over their
financial situation. Her anger erupts in disputes with family and
friends and she goes out on a shoot with Jake. Foolishly, he attempts to
bait the bears with meat and one of them attacks their truck, which is
parked on the Bay. Jake is oblivious to the danger as he keeps on
clicking his camera. They are saved by the Bear Patrol Officer, who
shoots the bear. Sharla is filled with remorse for her actions and
believes that the bear is dead, but later discovers that the bear
isn’t dead—he was tranquillized and taken to Bear Jail.

This fast-paced and compelling novel explores Sharla’s emerging love
of the North, which parallels the transformation of her emotions. The
details of life in Churchill add to the novel’s interest. The
beautiful and intriguing cover illustration depicts Sharla emerging from
the body of a polar bear. Highly recommended.


Wilson, Budge., “Sharla,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 14, 2024,