From School Library Journal
PreSchool-Grade 1–With comforting, carefully chosen words and soft pastels shading linocut prints, this book has all the elements to make it a bedtime favorite. A polar bear cub leaves the security of her warm den to discover something special out in the cold arctic air. The words "The night is keen and cold" have both a visceral and riveting effect. The choice of colors for each page establishes the mood; as the little cub sets off into snow she finds a world shaded in pink and violet, with a deep black/green sky. The comfort is reinforced at the sight of the sleeping animals she encounters, and the repetition of phrases ("She sees the seals…. She sees the whales") keeps the rhythm going. Sharp edges pair easily with soft colors as the drama of the cub's outing builds to the climax of falling stars that light up the sky, the sea, and the animals. In fact, "They light up everything the little bear loves." When the stars stop falling, she's ready to go back home to her mother's "soft, warm fur." A successful and satisfying combination of adventure and bedtime story.–Jane Marino, Bronxville Public Library, NY
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*Starred Review* PreS-K. Joining Henkes' Kitten's First Full Moon
[BKL F 1 04] and Mo Willems' pigeon duet is another graphically minimalist yet utterly effective picture book for the very young. "Snug inside her warm den, a polar bear cub wakes. Something in the moonlit stillness quietly beckons. What is it?" The tug of this gentle mystery will draw children into Thompson's simple bedtime story, and the hypnotic ebb and flow of her alliterative lines (on a night that's "keen and cold," little cub "sets out for the snow and sky and sea and ice") will keep children immersed as the young explorer encounters floating, dreaming sea creatures, and witnesses a meteor shower that further transforms the already exotic nighttime surroundings. As arresting as Thompson's language are Savage's powerful linocuts, which beautifully reference the textures and forms of Inuit stone carvings and evoke the arctic landscape in a few elemental colors per spread: glacial blues, grays, and sea greens; the pinks and lavenders of the aurora borealis. Like Henkes' kitten and Willems' pigeon, little cub harks back to an earlier, more technologically constrained era of bookmaking, when enduring classics were born of well-honed writing and thoughtful design rather than easy, glitzy effects. Jennifer MattsonCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved