cover image Baby Polar

Baby Polar

Yannick Murphy, , illus. by Kristen Balouch. . Clarion, $16 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-618-99850-0

A baby polar bear finds refuge underneath the warm body and four legs of his mother, Mama Polar: “He didn’t feel the icy wind there. And he could hear the beating of his mother’s heart.” Playing in the snow before a big storm, Baby Polar tastes snowflakes, makes a Snow Goose, and skates across the ice before realizing he’s lost. Balouch’s (The Ghost Catcher ) digitally created polar bears and their surroundings are shown in flat, collage-like compositions. The polar bear bodies, the hail of driving snow, the swirl of gale winds and Mama Polar’s visible pink and red heart are crisply outlined, and their interactions generate drama, as the massive Mama Polar looms over her tiny offspring or, when he is lost, spiraling winds and snow assail him. Murphy’s (Ahwoooooooo! ) skillful pacing creates just enough suspense before Baby Polar is safe again. Mama Polar’s reassuring, offhand manner provides an additional smile of relief: “Yes, I’m Mama Polar. But who are you? Are you a little snowball that has rolled into me?” Despite the Arctic chill, it’s a cozy vision of family. Ages 3–5. (Nov.)