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Polar Bear Night (New York Times Best Illustrated Children's Books (Awards)) Hardcover – October 1, 2004

4.4 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

*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 Mattson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 3 - 5 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - Kindergarten
  • Lexile Measure: 470L (What's this?)
  • Series: New York Times Best Illustrated Children's Books (Awards)
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Press (October 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0439495245
  • ISBN-13: 978-0439495240
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 10.2 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #679,251 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Elizabeth A. Thomas on November 14, 2004
Format: Hardcover
My little girl adores this book. She made me read it again and again and now she knows it by heart and "reads" it to herself. The illustrations are charming, simple but very evocative. They inspire my daughter (in a way more busily illustrated books don't) to draw. She draws lots of pictures of the polar bear cub off on new adventures and is now planning on writing "Polar Bear Night Two."
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Format: Hardcover
My daughter (3 1/2) loves this book. It has quickly become a bedtime favorite -- and it has made her very interested in stars and the night sky. The text is sweet and sonorous and the art is luminous and warm. Perfect for calming down before sleep.
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Format: Hardcover
This wonderful book follows a polar bear cub on a nighttime stroll through the Arctic. Steve Savage's geometric linocut illustrations perfectly mesh with the haiku-like story by Lauren Thompson. Savage's drawings are as flawless as a diamond and as gentle as a sunrise. Spend time with the art to appreciate the subtle pallettes of each 2-page spread, and the iconic simplicity of the figures in the landscape. The result is truly a book for all ages, and is worth of multiple reads.
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Format: Hardcover
if you have a little one that has a bit of a fear of the night then Polar Bear Night is the perfect book to have and read to them. This comforting little story displays how darkness can be a friend. A little polar bear cub decides to venture out in the cold, frozen night to do a a little exploring. Along the way she encouters other animals such as seals, whales, and a walrus, all sleeping and dreaming the night away.

The Illustrations by Stephen Savage perfectly compliment lauren Thompson's prose with colors that match the mood and setting perfectly, including the glow when the cub sees a meteor shower. Finally, when the little cub is done exploring, its back to her nice warm den and into her mothers arms and off to bed. Just a delightful story to show little ones that the night time can offer the appeal of soft, pleasant dreams and that even animals sleep peacefully in the darkness. Sure to be come a classic.
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Format: Hardcover
My 21-month-old has loved this book since we got it when he was only 16 or 17 months old. I think he responded instantly to the bold design and colors, and now he loves the mommy-baby story. He enjoys naming the animals now, too, and gets excited when we come to the star shower. I get goosebumps almost every time we come to the part where the falling stars "light up everything the little bear loves, and the bear shines bright with light too." I don't know why, but it's weirdly powerful. This is way up there with "Where the Wild Things Are" in our pantheon of bedtime books.
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Format: Hardcover
I picked up this book because the simple, endearing artwork caught my eye. I didn't know I was in for such a treat. This book is amazing-the text and art come together to tell a wonderful story of an adorable little polar bear out for a midnight stroll. With the same simple text and graphics that made Good Night Moon such a success, Polar Bear Night is sure to be a new bedtime classic.
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Format: Hardcover
Please don't hate me for this, I swear I'm really not a bad person who secretly hates fuzzy little bears and loving bear mommas. It's just that this book left me kind of cold, and it's not the effect of the snow. The story is nice, some of the phrases are downright lyrical. However, the total look of Polar Bear Night (New York Times Best Illustrated Books) is not enthralling to its intended audience looking for a sweet, pleasant, pretty book to lull them off to dreamland.

There was little to no interest paid by the child who saw this book, and this is a child who loves every book she sees, sometimes carrying them around the house all day.

I'm sorry, but.... ehhhh. This purchase, based on other great reviews, was a mistake. Live and learn.
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Format: Hardcover
We gave this as a Christmas gift to our 2-year-old. It is beautiful in narrative and illustration. The moon follows the title character, and the stars light up everything she loves.
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