The Polar Bear
Author and Illustrator: Jenni Desmond
Sendak Fellowship Recipient, 2016
Publisher: Enchanted Lion Books, 2016
Genre: Children’s Nonfiction
Source: Personal Copy
This book is truly beautiful and more. It strikes me as a real treasure. The drawings are wonderful, touchable and dynamic. The text speaks to different ages as well as varied uses of the information, conveyed in creative ways.
The New York Times Book Review convenes an independent panel of judges to recognize best illustrated children’s books. This book is one of ten winners this year. It is also the recipient of the Sendak Fellowship for 2016. Hats off to Jenni Desmond, author and illustrator. Truly, the illustrations convey a sense of mysterious wonder at the polar bear, the landscape and the very being of this magnificent animal.
This is a book that can be loved and enjoyed by a personS from age three to age ninety-three. Different size print gives the adult who may be sharing this book with a young child clues about what parts of the book may best be shared with the youngest children. Wonderful stories can be told from the illustrations alone. And yet, the informational writing is top-notch and appropriate for so many kinds and levels of reading and study.
Not to be ignored is the emotional content of the book. From serendipity to the difficulties of life in the Arctic, every page is a new emotional adventure. I long to touch the fur, the thick legs, to stand beneath the tremendous height, to curl up with the comfort, to collect the joy of the physicality of this animal as I read. There’s humor in the polar bear shaking that long thick fur so that water sprays across the sea, surprising the young child who is a surrogate for the reading child’s adventure. Watch boisterous cubs slide through the snow. Joy permeates the page, the imagination, the very air around you as you read.
Looking for gift ideas for the very young or the very old or anyone in between? This book seems a precious possibility.