A bear is determined to dance at the Mukluk Ball.
Karhu (which translates to “bear” in Finnish) is an anthropomorphic black bear who leaves near Finn Town, in a setting that evokes northern Minnesota albeit in an alternate reality in which animals and humans interact as peers. During the summer, he sees a notice about the wintertime Mukluk Ball, and he decides to earn money by picking blueberries to sell so he can buy himself a pair of the warm boots, traditional to Arctic Natives (though they are never mentioned in the text). He also sells bear hugs, and once he has his mukluks, he takes dance lessons at the library. As the seasons change, Karhu tires and must settle in to hibernate, but he asks his friend Zazaa the owl to wake him for the ball. No sense of tension ever arises: The owl wakes the bear; the bear dances at the Mukluk Ball; then the weary ursine falls asleep; and people take him by dogsled back to his den. Readers are likely to reach the end with a little taste of the Northwoods but with little satisfaction from the milquetoast storytelling or the rather stiff art that merely reiterates in images the text’s stolid chain of events.
Dull. (Picture book. 2-4)