Waiting for Ice

Overview

Based on a true story, WAITING FOR ICE follows an orphaned polar bear cub as she struggles to find food on Wrangel Island, far north in the Arctic Ocean. Left alone at ten months old, the young female finds herself up against other bears who are bigger and stronger than she is—and just as hungry. Due to rising temperatures, the bears are trapped on the island until the ice packs reform. Only then can they venture out to hunt for seals and whales, using the ice as life rafts.

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Overview

Based on a true story, WAITING FOR ICE follows an orphaned polar bear cub as she struggles to find food on Wrangel Island, far north in the Arctic Ocean. Left alone at ten months old, the young female finds herself up against other bears who are bigger and stronger than she is—and just as hungry. Due to rising temperatures, the bears are trapped on the island until the ice packs reform. Only then can they venture out to hunt for seals and whales, using the ice as life rafts.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
A polar bear cub has lost her mother and is alone among the large bears. In October they are waiting on an island for the ice to form rafts from which they can hunt seals and whales. The cub finds a dead bird to eat, but is soon hungry again, back amid the waiting bears. When a large bear catches a walrus, the cub manages to get some to eat. After a blizzard, the ice pack is finally forming. The cub follows the other bears out onto the ice. She must learn to hunt out in the ocean to survive. Marks uses watercolors and pencil to add emotional depth to the descriptive text. Double-page scenes transport us into the frigid landscapes while helping us hear the barking masses of the long-toothed walruses. These naturalistic images leave room for the reader's imagination to participate in the actions. The final scene of the cub's decision to take off onto the floes implies a positive future for her. There are added notes about polar bears and global warming. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Kirkus Reviews
Markle provides an uncommon look at polar bears, the largest hunters on land, in this narrative that follows an orphaned cub barely old enough to survive on her own. Trapped on Wrangel Island in the Arctic Sea, waiting late into the fall for the annual floating pack ice to form, she and other polar bears subsist on the few animals they can find--typically only birds and walruses, as a note on global warming explains at the back. No big gestures or overt drama about the effects of climate change here, but a focused, simple look at how polar bears survive during so much of the year, when there's no ice to help them in their hunt for seals in the Arctic waters. Marks' realistic watercolor-and-pencil illustrations in blues and grays show a spare landscape and just enough detail to link the bear cub with the text. Bright spots of red on a walrus calf captured and killed by an older bear and on the dead bird found by the cub are subtle reminders that the bears are predators and carnivores. The language is straightforward, simple and clear, offering only the hope that the cub will survive the winter. An author's note, polar bear facts, sources for more information and a discussion of global warming provide extensions to the story. Sturdy and well-put-together nature writing for younger readers. (Informational picture book. 4-8)
School Library Journal
Gr 1–3—Orphaned and hungry, a cub searches for food along with the many adult polar bears stranded by warming waters on Wrangel Island in the Arctic Ocean. Unable to find ice floes large enough to carry them to better hunting grounds, the starving bears vie with one another for the meager bits they can find. It looks hopeless for the little bear, but she is resilient and resourceful, and when the ice pack finally arrives, she leaves the island for an uncertain future. A postscript tells readers that this picture book is based on a true story: the cub did manage to survive, but the increasing effects of global warming threaten the existence of all polar bears. Watercolor illustrations in blues and grays convey both the coldness of the Arctic and the sadness of the bears' experience. The book is best used as a read aloud with accompanying explanations of the causes and effects of global warming on the world around us, and with mention of the happier ending provided by the note.—Eva Elisabeth VonAncken, formerly at Trinity-Pawling School, Pawling, NY
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781580892551
  • Publisher: Charlesbridge Publishing, Inc.
  • Publication date: 2/1/2012
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 830,491
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: AD890L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.40 (w) x 11.10 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Sandra Markle has written over seventy nonfiction books for young readers, including her Growing Up Wild and Outside and Inside series. Her books have won awards from the Boston Globe/Horn Book, NSTA/CBC, ABA, and ALA. She lives in Florida.

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