cover image Ice Bear and Little Fox

Ice Bear and Little Fox

Jonathan London, Daniel San Souci. Dutton Books, $15.99 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-525-45907-1

Seasoned collaborators London and San Souci (Red Wolf Country) head north in this informative account of a polar bear's first year away from his mother. Subtle watercolors conjure a chilly landscape in hues of blue and green, a fitting backdrop for the starring pair of predators--a polar bear and the arctic fox who survives on his leftovers. Generously sprinkling Inuit words into his text (a glossary is provided), London tracks the duo from season to season with lyrical observation--the fox is ""white and ghostlike in the low moon""; icebergs ""groan and growl and rumble like thunder."" London charts the bear's hunting prowess, his summer feasts of berries and lichens on the tundra and his narrow escape from a killer whale attack. As the text deftly describes the cycles of the arctic circle, the animals and environment also spring to vivid life under San Souci's sure brush. A wide-angle vista of a tundra meadow unfurled before snowy mountains gives way to a close-up shot of the bear and his companion; readers join a seal below the water's surface, looking up toward a breathing hole in the ice. While this year-long sojourn lacks the urgency and depth of the story line in Nanuk (Children's Forecasts, Nov. 16), it is nonetheless skillfully wrought. Ages 5-9. (Nov.)