POLAR BEAR NIGHT

Lauren Thompson, Author, Stephen Savage, Illustrator , illus. by Stephen Savage. Scholastic $15.95 (32p) ISBN 978-0-439-49524-0

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.)

Reviewed on: 11/22/2004
Release date: 10/01/2004
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