Waiting for Ice
by Sandra Markle, illustrated by Alan Marks
I’m waiting for snow here in Minnesota, not waiting for ice, but that feeling of “C’mon, winter!” put me in the mood to take this book of my shelf. I’m glad I did!
A ten-month-old polar bear cub is orphaned on Wrangel Island, north of Russia, where many polar bears are waiting for pack ice to come that they spend the winter on. Usually orphaned cubs don’t survive, but this one beats the odds.
This narrative is based on Tuff, a real polar bear cub whose struggles were documented by a scientist in the area, and that’s explained in the author’s note at the back.
What I love most about this beautiful picture book is the way Markle uses strong verbs to ramp up the tension and action. And the way she uses figurative language is wonderful, too. Here are just a few of my favorite phrases:
They must wait for the patchwork quilt of ice to return…
the young cub bolts from the spit…
hunger drives the cub back to the beach.
but it’s the size of giant lily pads and pancake-thin–too weak to support polar bears.
She awakes to loud barks and the sight of boulder-sized bodies…
Pushing, grunting walruses stampede into the sea.
See what I mean?
Marks’ expressive paintings convey the hard life of the cub without crossing over into anthropomorphism.
I really liked Waiting for Ice–it would be great in the classroom for discussions of global warming, Arctic habitats, and food chains.
(Review copy of the book provided by the publisher)
And be sure to go to Lizann’s The Flatt Perspective for?Nonfiction Monday roundup to learn about?lots of terrific nonfiction books!