Sea Bear: a journey for survival
Greenwillow Books, 2023
48pp., pbk., RRP $A16.99
Imagine you are a polar bear.
Your coat is thick. Your teeth are sharp.
Your front paws are paddles, your back paws are rudders, and you can swim for miles.
Your home has always been the sea and the ice.
A sea bear, far north in the Arctic, hunts and naps and raises her young. She moves with the ice, swimming, running, stalking seals, resting. She follows the rhythm of the sea and the seasons.
But what happens when those rhythms change? What happens when there is no ice?
Told from the perspective of a female bear, the reader is taken on a journey of the Arctic seasons starting in spring when the ice is thick and the baby seals numerous, through to summer when the water warms and the ice melts, making it too thin to stand on and the seals more wary and quicker. Smelling land on the offshore breeze, the bear starts to swim to shore for food but it is a long arduous and perilous journey filled with lots of other creatures of the cold seas. But above all, polar bears are patient and so she continues knowing that the world will turn, the time will pass and winter will come again. Courage, determination, resilience – even in the animal kingdom.
As well as the evocative text, it is the illustrations which make this book a stand-out. Using a palette of a myriad of blues, the reader is treated to all the moods and times of this wonderland -starry night skies, ocean depths and shallows, the aurora borealis, the breaking ice pack and isolate seashore. While it could be a story of any sea bear, using the first person builds a connection with the reader so we are invested in her survival as well as that of all her kind. Her companions of the deep become less threatening as they pass by each other as Moore’s illustrations reflect her Master of Science in Medical and Scientific Illustration.
A page of information about sea ice and polar bears and another introducing the creatures she passes on her journey to shore add to the value of this book which shines a light on the plight of Arctic (and Antarctic) creatures as global warming continues and the amount of sea ice declines each year.
Originally published in hardback in 2019, this is the more affordable paperback version from the same author who gave us the intriguing true story, Yoshi and the Ocean last year. A valuable addition to your environment and sustainability collection that a new wave of students can enjoy.