cover image Mama, Why?

Mama, Why?

Karma Wilson, illus. by Simon Mendez, S&S/McElderry, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-4169-4205-4

Snuggling up with its mother, a baby polar bear wonders why the moon is in the sky. "Moon floats up there/ to say goodnight to polar bears," answers its mother. Of course, that's not enough for an inquisitive youngster (of any species), but Mama is more than willing to indulge her cub. The moon, she says, is friends with the globe-trotting stars, and dreams are the stories that the stars have told the moon. And snow? That's the stars' version of a contrail. If this sounds too sweet for its own good, rest assured that this lullaby never steps over the line. Wilson's conversational style beautifully captures a homespun imagination and the feel of a mother's end-of-day murmurs to her "dearest one." There's genuine magic in Mendez's soft-focus arctic scenes, particularly the way his lighting conveys the warm glow of the moon, the glittering night, and the glacial air. And he gives the bears' thick white fur an extraordinary palpability: it's almost as if it could billow with each turn of the page. Ages 3–7. (Mar.)