In a mythical time, animals and humans live harmoniously.
A polar bear loses a cub to the raven. A hunter hears a raven’s cry and discovers a human baby. He and his wife have been longing for a child, and now he is theirs. Then the raven lures the child, now seven years old, away, and he is rescued by the polar bears. Torn between the love of his bear family and his human family, he chooses both, living as a bear in winter and a human in summer, sharing all that he learns with both families. With lovely imagery and a gentle tone, Morris creates an Arctic world that is at once highly descriptive and wildly imaginative. But some of the magic, perhaps intended as allegorical, is too elusive and fey for its intended audience. The mysterious raven has no persona and is never questioned or explained. He seems to be merely a convenient plot device to manipulate the characters. Strikingly beautiful watercolors in a remarkable variety of whites in endless winter landscapes juxtapose with warm, vibrant colors of the humans’ habitat and clothing and the sharp contrast of the raven’s sleek black feathers. Perspective is designed to zoom in tightly to evoke a strong sense of empathy for the characters.Visually stunning, the tale succeeds best as a fanciful, wistful cuddle-up bedtime story. (Picture book. 5-8)