cover image Nanuk the Ice Bear

Nanuk the Ice Bear

Jeanette Winter. S&S/Beach Lane, $17.99 (48p) ISBN 978-1-4814-4667-9

Winter (Mr. Cornell’s Dream Boxes) examines the life of Nanuk, a polar bear (or “ice bear,” as she refers to her), against a changing polar landscape. She tints flat, folk-art-style images, set in small rectangular boxes, with the pale blues and greens of glaciers and ocean waters; the white backgrounds are slowly engulfed by ever-rising waves, an ominous visual indicator of the threats facing Nanuk and her fellow animals. Winter explores the geography of Nanuk’s Arctic surroundings, following the bear as she hunts for food, meets a male bear, digs a den, sleeps, and gives birth to two cubs. She teaches the cubs to hunt; after a few years, they leave, and she is left alone once more. “The ice is melting. The sea is rising,” Winter writes. “Soon there will be no place to hunt.” Winter closes with a description of Nanuk dreaming “of snow falling and falling and freezing into ice.” The story is a memorable introduction to the issue of climate change for primary-school audiences, one that carries a distinct undercurrent of sadness. Ages 4–8. (Jan.)