Polar Bear Horizon
written by Janet Halfmann; illustrated by Adrian Chesterman
2012 (Oceanhouse Media)
Source: Book app provided by the publisher
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Polar Bear is in a den with her two cubs. Born in late December, the cubs are now three months old and getting too big for the den. After leaving the den and giving the cubs a chance to adjust to their new surroundings, the mother leads her cubs to the sea so she can find food. Polar Bear sniffs the air for seals. She finds a seal den and tells her cubs to be quiet. After crashing through the den, she finds that the seals have escaped. Further hunting will have to wait as she has to feed milk to her hungry cubs. Once the family starts moving toward the sea again, Polar Bear finds a breathing hole for a ringed seal. Soon, she will have her first meal in months and the cubs will have their first taste of meat. (I applaud the author and illustrator for being realistic without being graphic. The text mentions the killing of the seal, but there is not an scene of this happening. What we see is the mother waiting by the ice hole.) As summer approaches, this furry family must move north to avoid the breaking ice. The first big snows of October are approaching and it won't be easy, but Polar Bear has kept her family fed and they will be ready for the dark winter.
Young readers will enjoy Polar Bear Horizon. The beautiful illustrations (blue never looked better) pop in the iPad format and the engaging text is supported by a "read to me" function and pronunciation of individual words if you are reading it yourself. I was also digging the solo guitar on the background music. The back matter is a great source of information to complement the simpler narrative. If you are teaching about the predator/prey relationship or doing a unit on mammals, Polar Bear Horizon is a good resource to add to your teaching. You can also work on teaching prediction with this book app. Check the background knowledge of your primary class and see if they can predict what is going to happen when Polar Bear searches for food.
Polar Bear Horizon is available right now at a terrific introductory price of $0.99 through iTunes.