Barnett, Mac

A Polar Bear in the Snow

(2) PS Illustrated by Shawn Harris. Viewers follow a polar bear, newly emerged from hibernation, on a journey across a snowy landscape to the Arctic Sea. The offstage narrator's persistent question ("Where is he going?") propels the creature's journey past playful seals, an inviting cave, and a sociable human. His response to each of these potential interactions varies from lack of interest to steadfastness to aggression--often with a smattering of implicit humor. ("Is he going to visit the seals? No. He is not hungry.") While the cut-and-torn-paper-collage illustrations (with ink detail) are almost entirely in shades of white throughout the book, a great sense of movement, depth, and mass is achieved through individual forms, as well as through layering, lighting, and texture. A striking glacial blue is introduced during the polar bear's acrobatic underwater routine, expertly sequenced across a double-page spread. After his swim, the animal continues his journey across the snow. The narrator now answers the text's oft-repeated question with: "Who knows?" Barnett (The Wolf, the Duck, and the Mouse, rev. 11/17) and Harris (Her Right Foot, rev. 11/17) have created an understated, reflective, and loving portrayal that also serves as a celebration of wonder and wandering.


Get connected. Join our global community of more than 200,000 librarians and educators.

This coverage is free for all visitors. Your support makes this possible.

We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing.