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Polar Bear Postman Hardcover – November 1, 2017
"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover," illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Learn more
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I say this is a little scary because it revolves around a missing child, the search for the child, and the passage of time without word about the child. That's an interesting plot for a children's picture book, and could be a bit unnerving the first time around. Of course, once a little reader is assured of a happy ending all of the other charming aspects of this book move to the fore, especially upon rereading.
And those charms are considerable. The dangerous fox and eagle are, well, dangerous looking. The other animals, an unusual selection, include Sika Deer, Siberian Chipmunks, Blakiston's Fish Owl, and of course the featured Red-crowned Cranes. These are pretty cool animals, especially for kids who've seen enough cows and squirrels, and the like.
Polar Bear Postman is a comforting main character. He projects as competent, resourceful, confident and dependable. Kindness and diligence are fine virtues, and this book is, if anything, a muted celebration of community and care.
All of this is set off nicely by the drawings. Character outlines are done with broad, black strokes. Figures are finished with broad splotches of color, and backgrounds are colorful, though impressionistic. This makes the pages both bright and warm, and focuses attention where it should be, on the animal characters. Through it all Polar Bear Postman always commands the page, and this is, after all, mostly his story.
So, this struck me as a picture book with more than just "pictures", and it handled its subject with a consistent and balanced tone. On many levels this was an appealing find.
(Please note that I received a free advance will-self-destruct-in-x-days Adobe Digital copy of this book without a review requirement, or any influence regarding review content should I choose to post a review. Apart from that I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book.)
This is definitely a different selection of animals than Western kids will be used to. Most of them (apart from the polar bear) are native to Japan like the red-crowned cranes, sika dear, and Siberian chipmunks. I liked it for that aspect and the way the animals are all mostly eager to help find the missing youngster. It has a sweet ending. The illustration style is cute for the most part but sometimes the perspective seems odd with animals that should be smaller than Milk looking twice his size. Not sure if that’s a Japanese style thing that doesn’t translate or just this illustrator’s unique twist. If you’re looking for picture books set in Japan or featuring some unique animals, snatch this one up.
Just when he feels all is lost, he gets another note that solves the disappearance and all ends well.
We all should have a polar bear postman! The story, of course, is Japanese. Here in the US we'd be lucky to have the card delivered, much less have anyone at the post office care about anything. (My local postal service may be worse then some people experience. I've had to call the postmaster general complaint line in DC to get my mail delivered at all. My local post office won't even answer the phone. Ever.)
I received a copy from the publisher for review.
Museyon and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you). It will be published November 1st.
What stood out in this story was the size of the characters. Whoever was being questioned was larger than normal. The polar bear questioned predators, friendly families he thought might have taken the baby in, and anyone he ran across but nobody had seen the bird.
Then he gets another postcard. This is from another crane family and they have an extra child...
This is a short picture book for the very young and they will enjoy the pictures of the animals and be happy to see the young crane be reunited with his family. Give it a look; I bet you buy it!