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ICE BEARS by Brenda Z. Guiberson


by Brenda Z. Guiberson & illustrated by Ilya Spirin

Age Range: 5 - 8

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-8050-7607-8
Publisher: Henry Holt

Polar bears—so cute and cuddly, at least from a distance—have become the new poster animal in the fight against global warming, and this book earnestly tries to explain why. In December, a hibernating bear gives birth to twins. By the time the trio leaves the den in March, the mother is thin and has only a few months to hunt seals before the polar ice melts. She and the cubs survive a long Arctic summer before the ice freezes and they can hunt again. The real action takes place in the endnote: Global warming is melting the polar ice, with disastrous consequences for the bears. Unless we “take action,” the bears may be lost. The book is vaguely alarmist—thin bears, starving bears—but offers readers no way to help other than a generic “burn less fossil fuels.” Spirin’s watercolors make the most of the bears and their habitat, but they remain symbols, not characters, despite many onomatopoeic attempts to make the tale sparkle. Robert E. Wells’s Polar Bear, Why Is Your World Melting? (2008) is the far superior book. (Informational picture book. 5-8)