cover image Moon Bear

Moon Bear

Brenda Z. Guiberson, , illus. by Ed Young. . Holt, $16.99 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-8050-8977-6

Guiberson (Life in the Boreal Forest ) uses lyrical call-and-response phrases to describe the endangered southeast Asian moon bear's activities, after she wakes from hibernation. “Who scratches the birch tree and licks oozing sap? Hungry moon bear, slurping sweetness after months without food.” Moon bear's dramatic shape—composed of inky-dark cut paper, with a striking, white chest blaze that gives the animal its name—contrasts against Young's (Hook ) layered collages, which include photographic images of bark, bamboo, and forest floor. The moon bear marks its territory, eats (a lot), and sleeps, and as time passes, she prepares for hibernation once more; when she reawakens, she emerges a “Mama moon bear,” with cubs. Despite the dangers the bears face (an author's note features photographs of moon bears with information about farms in which thousands of them are kept), the text itself includes only a glancing mention of “poachers and loggers.” The book's subtlety—keeping the focus on the bear's peaceful everyday life, rather than the threats to its existence—is likely to inspire readers' compassion and concern. Ages 4–8. (May)