Polar bears find refuge on a tropical island paradise.
Three polar bear friends find themselves adrift on the “big blue ocean” when their ice-floe home cracks apart. Initially unconcerned, they entertain themselves, but then night comes and they grow worried. Spotting land, they ask the three Holsteins on the island if they can come ashore but are turned away—they are “too bear-ish.” Still at sea, with their bit of ice growing smaller, they encounter another island inhabited by a single panda. The panda does not want them either; the island will be too crowded with three more critters. Tea-drinking giraffes reject their pleas also. At last, they encounter an empty island where they can lounge and play games. And when a boatload of monkeys sails by, the polar bears bid them “WELCOME!” Barroux’s tale is perhaps meant to send a caution about global warming, but the message falls short with the antics of the animals. Finally finding a home after what is supposed to be a catastrophe and then playing ball and sunbathing just does not flow properly. The colorful, full-bleed art features bears and giraffes with stylized, oddly shaped snouts; the panda’s and the monkeys’ faces look startlingly puglike in contrast.
Refugees forced to find a new home—sadly, an always timely subject—deserve better storytelling than this. (Picture book. 3-6)