cover image Egyptian Polar Bear CL

Egyptian Polar Bear CL

JoAnn Adinolfi. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH), $14.95 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-395-68074-2

According to the flap copy, this stylish picture book was born when Adinolfi, a first-time author and illustrator, serendipitously stumbled across a scholarly reference to a burial vault for a polar bear in an Egyptian tomb. Whimsically detailed, jewel-bright illustrations-at times reminiscent at times of Peter Sis-lead readers on the fantastical journey of a lonely polar bear named Nanook. A strong current sweeps the bear from his Arctic home to the Egyptian court of the lonely boy king Rahotep, who quickly elects Nanook the Royal Playmate. Adinolfi makes hay with the unlikely juxtaposition of this symbol of the frozen north in the arid North African landscape-we see Nanook nearly capsizing a sleek boat in the crocodile-filled Nile, hunting sphinx and griffin, lumbering through the palace and knocking over statues of gods, at play amid the pyramids, and so on. Intense colors and a lively sense of visual humor give this artwork an effective edge. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)