A bedtime book pulls off the difficult task of making darkness and
silence seem comforting, not scary.
Perhaps the biggest challenge for a bedtime story is to teach children
that darkness can be a friend.
Polar Bear Night meets that
Polar Bear Night embraces darkness and silence. The stylized simplicity of Savage's illustrations reflects both the solace of night and the fellowship of nature.
Polar Bear Night celebrates these valuable gifts and offers us yet
one more, embodied in its final word: "home."
In Savage's striking compositions, a night lit by dazzling moonglow on "snow and sky and sea and ice" wakens a polar bear cub to a special adventure. Not knowing why she was somehow roused from sleep, where she lay next to her "warm, soft mother" in their den, the cub treks softly across the snow until she reaches a high drift. There, the cub witnesses a glittering star shower: "The stars are like snowflakes, falling, falling." After the natural light show, the cub heads back home and again snuggles into the warmth of her sleeping mother. Thompson's (Little Quack) phrasing emits a fittingly hushed quality and conveys a sense of wide-eyed wonder. Her nighttime Arctic imagery and soft repetition create a pleasingly soporific effect. Savage's (Making Tracks) crisp linocuts in a medley of icy bright blues, whites and purples and blacks contribute to a chilly yet soothing nocturnal landscape. The large shapes and frequent up-close perspective draw readers into the proceedings, while the rounded forms and friendly faces of various animals provide reassurance for the cuddly-looking cub in her wanderings. In Savage's velvety spreads, the darkness is quietly beautiful and never ominous. Ages 3-5. (Oct.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
If you are getting tired of reading
Good Night Moon, you might want to try this book as a soothing bed time read. A young polar bear cub leaves his mother and their warm den to explore the moonlit night. She sees a walrus asleep; seals like floating statues are asleep in the water; and whales that are sleeping but still swimming. As the cub travels she finally sees a glorious sighta star shower. It wakes all of the sleeping animals and after she experiences the quiet beauty of a polar night, the little cub heads back to the cozy warmth of mother and their den. The linocuts are set on papers that reflect the cold of this northern regionblues, grays, tans, and dark greens but they have a wonderful texture. The mulberry bleached rice paper makes many of the scenes look like snowflakes are falling. It is a quiet, simple, gentle story, perfectly suited for snuggling up with your own little one just before a nap or settling down for the night. 2004, Scholastic, Ages 1 to 3. Marilyn Courtot
PreS-Gr 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 2004 Reed Business Information.
Joining Henkes' Kitten's First Full Moon and Mo Willems' pigeon duet comes 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. (starred)
Beckoned by a moonlit stillness, a polar-bear cub wakes up and sets out for the sky, sea, and ice. She passes sleeping walruses, seals, and whales and keeps walking and listening until she comes to a mountain of snow and then waits. The moon waits with her; suddenly a star shower falls down like snowflakes, lighting up all the mammals and the cub's snug den and sleeping mother. As the stars stop falling, shining as they too sleep, little polar bear is also ready for sleep and returns home. The broad-shaped linocuts in striking shades of nighttime blues, dark greens, and blacks are graphically enlivening and exciting. The simplicity in the art, text, and plot belie the deft craftsmanship, like carving an ice sculpture. This bedtime story will captivate young listeners; it sparkles just like ice crystals on a moonlit night. (Picture book. 3-5)
Praise for the hardcover edition of POLAR BEAR NIGHT:
"Thompson's phrasing emits a fittingly hushed quality and conveys a sense of wide-eyed wonder. Savage's crisp linocuts in a medley of icy bright blues, whites and purples and blacks contribute to a chilly yet soothing nocturnal landscape." --Publishers Weekly STARRED, 11/22/2004.
"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 will keep children immersed...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." --Booklist STARRED, 11/15/2004.
"The simplicity in the art, text, and plot belie the deft craftsmanship, like carving an ice sculpture. This bedtime story will captivate young listeners; it sparkles just like ice crystals on a moonlit night."--KIRKUS STARRED, 10/15/04.
"Bold linocut prints in cool blues offer visual tranquility in this soothing bedtime tale. Strong lines and simple shapes create clear images for young viewers." --Horn Book Magazine, 11/1/2004.
"With comforting, carefully chosen words and soft pastels shading linocut prints, this book has all the elements to make it a bedtime favorite. A successful and satisfying combination of adventure and bedtime story." --School Library Journal, 11/1/2004.
As night settles into the sky, a polar bear cub takes a walk while her mother sleeps in the den. The tunnel of moonlight seems to lure the cub out of the cave. As the young polar bear takes her stroll, she sees a walrus, some seals, and the whales; all the animals are sound asleep. The still of the night breaks as a shower of bright stars entertain the cub and the animals. However, mother bear continues sleeping despite the shower of stars. Eventually, the young bear discovers that she needs to sleep and she finds her way home to her mother. Illustrator Savage captures the quiet evening adventure with powdery shades of pastel colors. The pictures are simple; lighter and darker shades define the shapes such as the craggy surface of the icebergs on the thick pages of the book. Young children may enjoy the calm flow of the story and the gentle tones and shades of color in the pictures before bedtime. Reviewer: Carrie Hane Hung
Children's Literature - Carrie Hane Hung