Not one but three roly-poly moon bear cubs star in this true animal rescue tale.
Orphaned by poachers, Yasha, joined later by Shum and Shiksha, are nurtured by Pokrovskaya and another scientist for nearly two years on a game preserve until they were ready to be released into the Siberian wild. Taking a slightly anthropomorphized bear’s-eye point of view (“Yasha was happy with his new home”), Kvatum chronicles the cubs’ development as they learn to forage on their own while playing together and learning to climb trees. She also notes how important it is for human observers to remain aloof—minimizing physical contact and even wearing scent-concealing clothing—to prevent the animals from becoming dependent or domesticated. Looking positively fetching in the big, color photos, shaggy Yasha and his ursine cohorts grow visibly as they ramble through woodsy settings, splash in a river and survive an encounter with a prowling tiger before being deemed ready to live on their own.
An affectionate picture of bears and bear scientists, capped with a page of moon bear facts and an afterword. (map, bibliography) (Informational picture book. 7-9)