cover image Cub’s Big World

Cub’s Big World

Sarah L. Thomson, illus. by Joe Cepeda. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-544-05739-5

“Mom was big and white and warm,” writes Thomson (Around the Neighborhood: A Counting Lullaby), and even though Cepeda paints the polar bear’s fur in buttery yellow, his thick, bold brushstrokes instantly convey the totality of a mother’s embrace: “Inside the world were Mom and Cub. And that was all.” One day, Mom and Cub venture out of their den, and amid all the wonders Cub realizes how easy it is to lose Mom. Even the one thing that makes Mom stand out in a “white, white world”—the black of her nose—can’t be counted on: ermine have black tails, and seals have black noses. Cepeda (The Tortoise or the Hare) continually reveals the landscape from different angles and with surprising colors; in the seal vignette, he looks up at Cub as she peeks through a hole in the ice into the green-blue water below. Thomson’s calm voice makes it clear that Mom’s absence is only temporary, so readers can or snuggle up and relish this big polar world, gorgeously and inventively imagined. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Linda Pratt, Wernick & Pratt. (Nov.)