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by Claudia Rueda & illustrated by Claudia Rueda

Age Range: 2 - 5

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-545-14600-5
Publisher: Scholastic

In this minimalist, thoughtful piece, a little polar bear asks an important question: “Am I a polar bear?” The little one is gently assured by the parent polar bear that it’s a polar bear because it was born in the Arctic where polar bears have lived for a long time, that its fur is white, that it can smell seals and walk on snow and ice, among other traits. The polar bear cub takes this in but worries that it can’t do these things well enough. Again the little bear is reassured that the parent will stay and teach it everything. The one thing the little bear does know, however, is that it loves the big bear. Rueda’s blue-and-white digital illustrations are at once round and inviting and as spare as the Arctic itself. At times, the colors and design are so pale and stark that children will look twice to see the subtle shapes; a wordless double-page spread of the bears in a snowstorm is particularly lovely. The genderless bears work nicely for all parents and children. Nurturing, poignant and to the point. (Picture book. 2-5)