Dodd explored unwavering parental love in 2008’s No Matter What, and she revisits the theme in this gentle book featuring a polar bear parent and child. Displaying characteristic simplicity, Dodd writes in the calming voice of the elder bear (which could stand in for a mother, father, or any other guardian figure), who provides steady reassurances in good times and bad. The various scenarios dictate the tempo; a pair of upbeat lines (“When you’re happy, having fun,/ I feel happy, too./ When you giggle, play, and run,/ I laugh along with you”) is followed by a quieter one (“I do my best to cheer you up/ when you are feeling down.../ to see if I can make you smile/ and smooth away your frown”). Loose, black lines outline the bears, which are pictured against stark, snow-spattered backdrops of sea, sky, and mountains. With just the slightest squiggles, Dodd alters the cub’s facial expressions, broadcasting its swinging moods, while the larger bear’s comforting smile is a constant. Splashes of bold color—a vibrant blue sky, the northern lights—punctuate the wintry palette in this lovely bedtime read-aloud. Ages 2–5. (Oct.)
Children's Literature - Suzanna E. Henshon
What does it feel like to be loved forever? In this lyrical story, a polar bear mother shares her wisdom with her baby. The tale begins with a picture of the two bears playing together and the observation: “When you are happy, having fun, I feel happy too.” The mother and baby giggle, play, and laugh together in some scenes; later, they comfort each other during difficult times, smoothing the frowns into smiles. The polar bears journey across a snowy, magical land together, sharing their hopes, dreams, and love until the final line, “And no matter what may come we journey together. Know that deep within my heart I will love you forever.” It is easy to fall into this poetical landscape, to feel the warmth and brightness that shines and elevates this text beyond that of the typical picture book. This is a lyrical story of parent and child set against a snowy tapestry filled with stars and texture. Reviewer: Suzanna E. Henshon, Ph.D. AGERANGE: Ages 3 to 7.
School Library Journal
PreS—A large polar bear plays, chases, and snuggles with a cub across Arctic backgrounds as rhyming text explains, "I do my best to cheer you up/when you are feeling down…/to see if I can make you smile/and smooth away your frown." As the bears travel across ice and water, the adult is always near and reminds the youngster, "no matter what may come as/we journey on together…I will love you forever." This gentle story will appeal to adults who want to reassure their children that they will always be safe and cared for. The beautiful digital illustrations are minimal but expressive, with the cub's worry or joy made evident with a few lines. The cartoon-style animals are appealing, and the backdrops, of the tundra, a sky full of stars, and the colorful aurora borealis, enhance the story while providing information about the real environment of polar bears. The text is not particularly original, but it describes well the things a parent wants to say to a child. Perfect for one-on-one sharing or a storytime read-aloud.—Marian McLeod, Convent of the Sacred Heart, Greenwich, CT
Though expressed by a mother polar bear in the snowy Arctic, this is a very warm message of love to a small child. In quiet, lilting verse, the bear mother assures her little one that she will always be there, no matter what the circumstances--sharing in her tot's happiness, consoling her in sad and scary times, finding her when she's lost, and always encouraging her hopes and dreams. The best part, of course, is mom's heartfelt promise that she will love her child forever. The simple digital illustrations are sweet and comforting, usually rendered in stark white and black against muted background hues; most feature close-ups of mother and child embracing or enjoying activities in each other's company. Some scenes are particularly striking--one spread depicts a bold, blue night sky with a bright full moon casting the duo's reflections on still water; another spread shows the bears marveling at the vivid colors of the aurora borealis--but the general quietness of the artwork reflects the gentleness of a mother's calm, heartfelt assurances. The message is universal, and the words can't be said enough. The bears are certainly stand-ins for any adoring mother-child pair. (Final, foil-embellished art not seen.) (Picture book. 2-5)