When Bessie decides to explore a frozen ice ship one morning, she finds a new playmate-a baby polar bear. Snow Bear and Bessie are instant friends, but Bessie's brother and Snow Bear's mother are worried. The grown-ups wait and watch the little ones play until something happens that will break up the happy pair. With beautifully simple text and lavish wintry paintings, this gentle Arctic picture book will warm the hearts of readers young and old.
From NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW:
A child and a bear go out to play - not one morning in Maine, but one day in the frozen Arctic. The youngsters, whose guardians keep their watchful distance, have a wonderful time.
This arctic encounter between a polar bear cub and an Eskimo girl carries echoes of Robert McCloskey's "Blueberries for Sal." Young Bessie Nivyek and little Snow Bear meet by chance on an upthrust crag of ice and proceed, under the watchful eyes of mother Nanuq and Bessie's brother, Vincent, to slide and tumble gleefully together. ... Gorgeously ruffed and decorated, the humans' parkas stand out with eye-catching brilliance against muted, blue-green backgrounds, and although Snow Bear's apparent smile in response to Bessie's grin is an anthropomorphic touch, the evident delight that the pair take in each other's presence creates a special warmth.
From PUBLISHERS WEEKLY:
When a small Eskimo girl explores a huge block of ice, she befriends a polar bear cub who has wandered away from his mother. With virtually identical reactions, the girl"s older brother and the polar bear mother watch the youngsters cavort: "Up on the ice ship Vincent watches Bessie playing with Snow Bear. Little cubs are friendly. Up on the ice ship, Nanuq watches Snow Bear playing with Bessie. Children are friendly." When a dangerous male polar bear appears, they all run for safety. Set against exquisite ice-blue land-scapes, Minor's tableaux are filled with drama and humor: winsome Bessie and stuffed-animal-cute Snow Bear turn somersaults, dance together and cuddle in a snow cave...
From SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL:
A ship-shaped upthrust of ice entices Bessie to pull on her parka and set off for imaginary voyages. She encounters Snow Bear, a polar bear cub, and they become instant companions, frolicking in the Arctic snow. .. The simple, pleasing text is accompanied by luminous watercolors that faithfully record this charming (if improbable) chance meeting. The pictures are brilliantly colored, detailed even to depicting frosty breaths among the icy blues, frigid greens, and snowy whites, with the two Inuits as rich dark spots in the landscape, in their beautifully decorated fur parkas.
From KIRKUS REVIEWS:
In this sweetly sentimental story set in the frozen twilight of an Arctic spring, (Jean Craighead) George tells of an Inuit girl who goes out to hunt. Bessie Nivyek sets out with her big brother, Vincent, to hunt for food ... Bessie bumps into a young bear, and they frolic: climbing, sliding, somersaulting, and cuddling. ... The brief text is lyrical and the illustrations are striking, with an impressively varied palette of white, in blue, green, yellow, and gold.
-A Scholastic Book Club selection
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