This is exactly the kind of book I would have loved reading as a child, as it is as educational as it is entertaining. Most children love animals - especially cute ones such as baby polar bears - so this book and its wonderfully engaging illustrations should appeal even to children who have not yet embraced the idea that reading is fun. In these pages, readers will get a sense of the life cycle of polar bears, from the emergence of cubs from their mothers' snowy dens to adulthood. You'll learn how they find food and how they thrive in the cold Arctic conditions (they actually get too hot more easily than they get too cold). I actually learned a thing or two myself from this book.
That being said, I must point out the fact that this book also has an agenda, even going so far as to present one of Al Gore's infamous stranded polar bears on ice and propagating the idea that polar bears may be extinct by the year 2020. As is becoming ever clearer, there is more politics than science behind "global warming," but whatever side of the debate you call home, it is important that parents talk to their kids about the subject of caring for the Earth. Personally, though, I would rather not see such political scare tactics employed in books for young children, especially when they are based on increasingly questionable science.
on March 11, 2010
The title, Where do Polar Bears Live?, has a wonderful double meaning. It can be read as simply a factual account of Polar Bears and their habitat. But it also conveys the moral question of where will they live given a warming climate and disappearing ice. The text clearly addresses both perspectives. Likewise the beautiful illustrations serve to endear us to the mother and her cub in the face of the unforgiving climate to which they are so uniquely adapted. But they also cause the reader to feel compassion and a sense of responsibility for the protection and future of these animals. It is a rare book for children this age to be exposed to both the wonders of biology and ecology as well as the compassion that drives these scientists.
on June 25, 2014
The book educates the reader on the habits of polar bears. Where they live what they eat, how they get food, Below is an excerpt from the beginning of the book:
"This island is covered with snow. No tees grow. Nothing has green leaves. The land is white as far as you can see. Then something small and round and black pokes up out of the snow. A black nose sniffs the air. Then a smooth white head appears. A mother polar bear heaves herself out of her den. A cub scrambles after her. When the cub was born four months ago, he was no bigger then a guinea pig. Blind and helpless, he snuggled in his mother's fur. Her drank her milk and grew, safe from the long Arctic winter."
The words coupled with the pictures are compelling in my opinion. The book goes on to show the cub playing in the snow, mother teaching the cub how to fish and other everyday things a polar bear would do. I want to mention that at one point in the book it shows the mother and cub eating meat and although you cannot see the animal they are eating you can see the blood in the snow. In the same picture is a fox with blubber in its' mouth and the blubber is red.
One picture shows the mother dipping her paw into a whole in the ice, the caption reads,: "At last, the bear smells the seal. She hooks it with her sharp claws and crushes its skull with her jaws. She drags it up onto the ice."
The very next picture shows the mother and cub with thier heads down in blood on the ice. They are in the background of the picture and there is a arctic fox in the foreground with blubber in its mouth, The caption reads, "The mother strips away the skin and blubber. A little Arctic fox darts in to snatch a mouthful of the meat."
I thought I would mention this so you can use your own judgement on whether this part is suitable for your child. This is the only part that is questionable to me. If you deem it too much for your child you could always just skip these two pages; which would be easy to do because they are on the left and right side of the pages that are opened. By the way, the seal is never shown, in the water or on the land.
With that said, the story does get into the decline of the environment and how it is hurting the polar bears. It really is a sad thing but the writer succeeds at making his point without being to devestating to a child, the author concentrates more on the fact that somehting needs to done to save the polar bears in a nonchalant way. But at the same time making a definate point on how important it is to do something about it. At the back of the book the author includes ways the child, and adult, can help the polar bears. So the child is not left feeling helpless in helping, but empowered to help.
It's a great book to teach children about this growing issue. I want to thank the author for writing a wonderful book like this geared towards children and making them feel empowered to help. Kudos to the author and the artist who drew the pictures, great job!!
Well, that's my frank and honest review. I sincerely hope that it helps you in your buying decision.[...] Thank you again, and happy reading to you all!!
on February 27, 2014
My 2 1/2 year old and I loved this book. It has so much information, but everything is pretty much spelled out, making no assumptions about previous knowledge. I like that it clearly explained some topics that my daughter had asked about after reading other books on polar bears, like the father's role, what the Arctic is made of, and how global warming directly affects polar bears' survival. There are 2 pages of extra info at the end about global warming and how you can help - great for older kids. Another thing I liked was that sizes were described in kid-friendly ways (as heavy as 3 tigers, his head would touch your living room ceiling...). Some comparisons were a little over my daughter's head, but this book is for a slightly older crowd, maybe PreK-2. The illustrations are extremely helpful for understanding the text. Great book for kids who want to learn all about polar bears!