Instead of reconstructing a typical day or season, Hodges begins in the midst of a tremendous earthquake which transforms the Alaskan valley to a scene of rumbling panic and, before it's over, separates the featured little bear from his mother. After that the cub's searches for comfort and food precipitate a series of encounters, and Hodges takes him out of one and into another before readers' interest can fade. First he is swooped up by an owl and dropped into the nest as prospective food for her babies; upon escaping, he beats a magpie out of her dead fish dinner and then cautiously edges past a huge bull moose who proves to be reassuringly placid--until he's provoked by a wolverine that is after the cub. Unwittingly the bull also saves the cub from a coyote family, and after that the little bear shadows the larger animal, deriving from it a sense of security until the bull's tolerant nature changes with the advent of rutting season and the bear just escapes its charging fury. The cub's survival is attributed repeatedly to instinct, though there are some things that instinct fails to prepare him for. Altogether, Hedges has put together an involving and dramatic narrative in the realistically fictionalized animal genre.