January 10, 2013
Waiting for Ice by Sandra Markle, illustrated by Alan Marks
The little polar bear cubs moves onto the spit of land. The cub is all alone and as she moves through the other bears, she is often chased away when she gets too close to a female who isn’t her mother or an adult bear that is feeding.
Food has grown more and more scarce but the can’t leave Wrangle Island. The pack ice is late forming this year and it doesn’t matter how hungry the bears get. Without the ice, they can’t wander off across the ocean.
It doesn’t help that this little cub is all alone. She should be with her mother for at least another year so that she can learn to travel across the ice and how to hunt. Somehow she manages to find enough food — sometimes finding dead animals, sometimes getting part of another bear’s kill.
In simple, straight forward text, Markle tells the story of one real bear cub, named Tuff by scientists. The scientists noted that she was orphaned and were surprised to see her return to the island the following spring. Few cubs survive without the help of their mothers.
Marks watercolor and pencil illustrations bring the world of the polar bear to life, from rocky island to white and blue pack ice.
The very youngest readers might be upset by the fact that this little bear has no mother and none of the other bears are helping her but slightly older readers will learn about this young bear’s resourcefulness and drive to survive. This book would be an excellent jumping off place for discussions about global warming, man’s impact on his fellow animals and habitat. An excellent introduction to life in the Arctic.