A glimpse into the life of a young polar bear and its struggle to survive within a rapidly changing landscape.
Abandoned by his mother, Waluk is left to fend—and hunt—for himself. After a time trying to subsist on easily attainable duck eggs, he meets Manitok, an old bear who was once a great hunter but now suffers from a poor sense of smell and missing fangs. The pair quickly bond, and Manitok helps Waluk become a more adroit hunter. However, with food in short supply due to the warming Arctic, the bears find themselves in a garbage dump, where Manitok unwittingly stumbles into a bear trap. Against all odds, young Waluk rallies the other bears to help rescue his imprisoned friend. Miralles’ bears are disarmingly adorable, and Ruiz gives them humanlike personalities, making them easy for kids to relate to. Despite the rampant ursine cuddliness, this is not a fluffy, sweet tale; these bears must fight to survive in a changing world, and their struggle viscerally brings home the seemingly faraway effects of climate change. Ruiz’s afterword helps tie in many of the main issues and offers readers a smattering of websites for further research.
Cute meets socially conscious, leaving an indelible impression upon readers. (afterword) (Graphic fiction. 8-12)