August 20, 2017

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Pup and Bear by Kate Banks | SLJ Review

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redstarBANKS, Kate. Pup and Bear. illus. by Naoko Stoop. 32p. Random/Schwartz & Wade. Oct. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780399554094.

PreS-Gr 2 –At the close of an Arctic winter, a wolf pup, stranded on an ice floe, is rescued by a polar bear. “I am not your mother,” says the bear, but she assures the fearful pup that she will care for and shelter him. As the seasons turn, she protects the pup, plays with him, and teaches him to fish until at last it is time to let him go. Now an adult leading his own pack, the wolf discovers a lone polar bear cub and brings the kindness shown to him full circle. The illustrations, rendered in acrylic, ink, pencil, and pastels and digitally finished, depict the landscape in muted shades of gray, blue, green, and tan, with occasional splashes of color as the sun breaks over the frozen tundra. Alert readers will notice the gradual change in the wolf pup’s coloring. Several other animals—puffins, a gray owl, a walrus, a snow goose, seals, and lemmings—also appear. The text contains poetic descriptions such as “fierce wind” that “holler[s] and roar[s],” and unexpected juxtapositions such as “[a] throb of silence.” VERDICT The lyrical writing makes this a wonderful read-aloud. This story of extraordinary kindness may also prompt a discussion of diverse families. A first purchase.–Marianne Saccardi, Children’s Literature Consultant, Cambridge, MA

This review was published in the School Library Journal August 2017 issue.

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