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