cover image Hush Little Polar Bear

Hush Little Polar Bear

Jeff Mack, . . Roaring Brook, $16.95 (40pp) ISBN 978-1-59643-368-7

In his first solo outing, Mack (illustrator of the Bunnicula series) sends an eager-looking polar bear on a series of dreamtime adventures: “Swim through a waterfall./ Splash in a stream./ Paddle past rainbows/ that glisten and gleam.” Big, rounded shapes and pastel-tinted spreads encourage calm, while rhythmic verses describe action. The polar bear looks like a real cub; the ending reveals him (her) as a stuffed animal snuggled in the arms of the girl who, presumably, is the narrator. She’s right behind the polar bear in every spread, watching over him; in Mack’s cheerful, fuzzy acrylic paintings, they travel across the ocean, through a rain forest, a desert, and up into the sky before ending safely in bed. “Then look right beside you,/ and that’s where I’ll be,” she promises the bear. Giving the child character the speaking rather than the listening part neatly reverses lullaby convention. Ages 2–6. (Nov.)