In poetic prose, a polar bear reveals her dependency on the cycle of Arctic seasons.
The artwork is strikingly beautiful, with a palette that gives equal glory to such natural wonders as starry night skies, ocean depths, and the aurora borealis. The author/illustrator’s background in scientific illustration serves the book well; the bear staring directly at readers early on has glistening eyes and a nose that surely will smudge the opposite page. Renderings of Arctic habitats and their denizens are equally impressive. The text also excels. Complementing its enchanting rhythm, the text includes some enjoyable alliteration (“a weary raft of wary walruses”). The bear begins her story by telling readers that polar bears are patient animals and that she has learned patience from her mother. This sliver of anthropomorphism cleverly engages readers with this particular bear while giving a basic, scientific account of one year in a female polar bear’s life. The facts are fascinating. Polar bears apparently spend their lives alternately: gorging on seals and ambling on sea ice, then paddling toward terra firma during the annual ice melt, and then nearly starving while on land. The females move further inland to birth their cubs, and the cycle resumes as the ice rebuilds. “I will teach the sea’s rhythm to my cubs and whisper to them in the dark.”
A subtle cry for environmental activism in an enticing package. (endnotes) (Picture book. 4-9)