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Great Crystal Bear

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Blending poetic language and scientific fact, Carolyn Lesser explores how one magnificent bear lives throughout the year. Impressionistic paintings follow the bear as he hunts, swims, plays, and journeys in the far north. “Lyrical in tone and accurate in zoological detail, the narrative is ideal for one-on-one sharing.”—School Library Journal

A great polar bear sleeps, hunts, wanders, and mates ...

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Overview

Blending poetic language and scientific fact, Carolyn Lesser explores how one magnificent bear lives throughout the year. Impressionistic paintings follow the bear as he hunts, swims, plays, and journeys in the far north. “Lyrical in tone and accurate in zoological detail, the narrative is ideal for one-on-one sharing.”—School Library Journal

A great polar bear sleeps, hunts, wanders, and mates as the seasons pass.

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 1-3This prose poem about the life of a polar bear is in perfect artistic harmony with its dramatic illustrations. Full- and double-page spreads in arctic white and blue capture the sweep of the northern landscape, with only the golden-tinged giant bear and his prey, the brown seal, to add a touch of warmth to the rugged, cold beauty. The beautifully designed watercolors are naturalistic but done with an idealized softness that suits the poetic mood of the text as it describes the bear's solitary life from season to season. Moving through the star-studded, snowflake-spangled winter darkness, stalking softly on huge paws across the ice, curling snugly in a bed of snow, arrowing through turquoise waters, or looming purposefully above an unwary seal, the great crystal bear exists in a raw, hard, dangerous world that is awesome and majestic, as well. For emphasis and variety, the poem is printed in white on dark backgrounds and black on the lighter ones. Lyrical in tone and accurate in zoological detail, the narrative is ideal for one-on-one sharing.Patricia Pearl Dole, formerly at First Presbyterian School, Martinsville, VA
Susan Dove Lempke
In a rolling, poetic text, Lesser wonders about the life of a polar bear, asking, "Great crystal bear / How do you survive on the thick ice / Covering the deep Arctic sea?" She weaves her gentle musings with solid scientific information, as the bear searches for food, traps and eats a seal, and play fights with younger bears to teach them how to battle for a mate. Noonan's watercolors show a landscape of blue-green water, shiny white ice, and a white bear dappled with the reflections of the aurora borealis for a luminous effect. He depicts the bear with majesty and beauty, minus cuteness and cuddliness. Younger listeners may get wiggly because of the text's quiet tone and length, but for primary-graders, this would make an evocative addition to a unit on the Arctic.
Kirkus Reviews
Lesser (What a Wonderful Day to be a Cow, 1995, etc.) weaves a surprising number of facts into a lyrical narrative about a year in the life of a polar bear. Readers learn how the bear's hollow white hairs gather sunlight while its black skin absorbs the heat, how it kills and eats and leaves behind meat for other, less able, animals. Some in the picture-book set will grow impatient with the long, poetic lines: "Great crystal bear,/Alone/In the vast winter darkness,/Are you the mystical Nanuk of Inuit legend,/A man who enters an igloo/And emerges a bear, dressed in fur?" Noonan's impressive watercolor paintings have mostly soft blue backgrounds, rendering the white of the polar bear's fur luminous, but the environment is pristine and dreamy: This bear kills and consumes a couple of seals without shedding a drop of blood. The book works best as a complement to more straightforward books about the polar bear.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780152006679
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 4/28/1996
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 5 - 9 Years
  • Product dimensions: 11.24 (w) x 8.80 (h) x 0.35 (d)

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