Ice Walker: A Polar Bear’s Journey Through the Fragile Arctic

S. & S. Oct. 2020. 192p. ISBN 9781501155369. $18. NAT HIST
Canadian adventurer Raffan (Circling the Midnight Sun) portrays the lives of a family of Hudson Bay polar bears by following the family, Nanu and her two cubs Siu and King, over a two-year period, from the cubs’ birth to their independence. Raffan skillfully weaves information about polar bear biology, their adaptations to their harsh, unforgiving world; mating, birthing, and hunting behaviors; and details of the cubs’ development into a fascinating narrative as readers follow the family from their birthing den to the sea ice while they find food and avoid danger as the cubs grow and learn how to survive. With their distinct personalities, the bears and their relationships come alive. The author vividly describes the arctic setting and also illuminates the dangers to the bears from pollution and global warming and shows how polar bears are interconnected with the animals and people of the north. Maps of the median ice edge help put the Arctic Circle in context, and show the threat of disappearing ice and the climate warms. An annotated bibliography and a glossary round out the work.
VERDICT Narrative nonfiction that offers a compelling, interesting, informative look at polar bears and their lives.
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