cover image My Little Polar Bear

My Little Polar Bear

Claudia Rueda, . . Scholastic Press, $16.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-545-14600-5

Rueda's (Let's Play in the Forest ) warm and fuzzy text offers an unexpected contrast to her cool Arctic spreads, suffused with a subtle feeling of wintry magic. “Am I a polar bear?” a cub fresh from its den asks its mother, who leads the cub through unremitting expanses of Arctic snow, water and ice. They are ghostly white shapes against pale pastel backgrounds, silhouettes without fur or modeling; only their outlines and some minimal shadowing distinguish them from the snow. A line or two per page slows the story to a gentle stroll. “Yes, little one,” the mother answers. “You can walk on snow and melting ice, just like a polar bear. You smell seals from far away.” When the cub is uncertain (“But I slip on melting ice, I can't catch a seal”) its mother reassures: “Don't worry, little one, I will stay with you, and I will teach you what polar bears need to know.” At the end of their journey, the mother polar bear curls herself around her baby, offering protection and security. A comforting bedtime story for youngest readers. Up to age 3. (Oct.)