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POLAR BEARS by Gail Gibbons


by Gail Gibbons, illustrated by Gail Gibbons

Age Range: 6 - 9

Pub Date: Sept. 15th, 2001
ISBN: 0-8234-1593-7
Publisher: Holiday House

Largest of the bears, the familiar white polar bear inhabits the ice and waters of the Arctic Circle catching seals, caribou, seabirds, and when meat cannot be found, berries, mushrooms, and seaweed. Gibbons describes how polar bears are adapted to the harsh climate where temperatures can fall to minus-30 degrees Fahrenheit, explaining how the white guard hairs trap warm air near the bear’s body, the black skin absorbs sunlight, and a thick layer of fat keeps the bear warm. Handsome watercolor paintings show big and baby bears hunting, eating, swimming, and sleeping. She is especially facile at capturing the many shades of white in the bear’s fur, and the blue white texture of the ice flows. Gibbons also captures the dignity of the bears, almost hunted to extinction in the 1970s and now making a comeback in the wild, while including the details children so enjoy. For example, a bear can eat 150 pounds of seal at one meal, but only eats the blubber and skin. She concludes with a warning about pollution and other dangers for polar bears, and brief bear facts. Another fine science title by a prolific author of books for young readers. (Nonfiction. 6-9)