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A POLAR BEAR IN THE SNOW by Mac Barnett Kirkus Star


by Mac Barnett ; illustrated by Shawn Harris

Pub Date: Oct. 13th, 2020
ISBN: 978-1-5362-0396-7
Publisher: Candlewick

Follow a polar bear in the snow to see where he’s going.

Readers are thus invited into this beautifully poetic story as the bear wends his way toward a destination that soon becomes apparent. Against a backdrop of white, grays, and smudgy touches of black, the majestic animal awakens from a nap in a snowy landscape and glides along, seeking neither food nor shelter—and definitely not a human. The refrain “There is a polar bear in the snow” and the question “Where is he going?” are repeated over the course of the bear’s journey, capturing readers’ attention and building suspense. Then…the background changes to shades of glistening turquoise, clarifying exactly where he was headed—and it all makes perfect sense. Afterward, sheer whiteness reclaims the bear and the scene, and he leaves his footprints and readers behind. This lovely tale is simply and gently told in a hushed tone with minimal text per page and offers up a tantalizing air of mystery about this much-loved creature. The captivating cut-paper–and-ink illustrations are appropriately atmospheric, offering varied perspectives. They perfectly suit the prose’s quiet grandeur, and occasional blank or nearly blank pages suggest a completely snow-blanketed bear. The art reflects the peace, solitude, and colors of the Arctic habitat and depicts other wildlife that reside there, such as seals on which polar bears prey and arctic foxes.

Charming, scenic, and a winning must for the youngest polar bear lovers.

(Picture book. 3-7)