The first year of life for the Rotterdam Zoo’s new resident, born in 2010.
So small you can barely see him, newborn Vicks (named for the company that sponsors him) lies curled up with his mother, Olinka. There are a dozen large color photographs as well as small illustrations peppered throughout. Interesting facts (“Polar bears have white fur, but they actually have black skin”) are tucked into page corners below the story of Vicks’ growth. Nourished by his mother’s milk, Vicks is soon big and strong enough to leave the cozy den and explore. And is he curious! But every new thing is also a little scary. A crow sends him diving into the water and the safety of his mother’s arms. When he wants to get dry, he shakes like a dog. For food, he has to learn how to catch fish with his paws. He grows quickly; the big rocks that used to daunt him are now his favorite places to play and laze. He can also run, growl, climb and dive. At 2, Vicks will be mature enough to find a mate and have a cub of his own. The evocative photos capture the cub in a way that’s sure to beguile readers; the information is presented in an age-appropriate, conversational manner that occasionally suffers from forced enthusiasm.
A mostly winning combination of information and entertainment. (Informational picture book. 4-8)