Author: Nicola Davies
Illustrator: Gary Blythe
Audience: Children Age 5-8+
Summary: Ice Bears is a non-fiction children’s book that tells us about the characteristics and lives of polar bears, “Nanuk”, as seen through the eyes of the Inuit, people of the Arctic. The Inuit people arrived in the Arctic around 40,000 years ago and they learned how to survive by watching polar bears.
Literary elements at work in the story:
Genre: Picture Book/Informational Facts -Non-Fiction
Setting: The stark landscapes of the Arctic.
Characterization: Polar bears are portrayed as admired and unique creatures who are made for a frozen world! They are relational creatures who care about other polar bears and also the Inuit. The Inuit people speak of their shared special relationship with the Arctic, the Earth, and the Nanuk. They are grateful and proud of sharing their world.
Plot: The Inuit speak of their gratitude and admiration for the Nanuk or polar bear. The solitary and magnificent Nanuk moves through the frozen and cold Arctic as a powerful hunter, tender parent, gentle friend, and tireless swimmer. The Nanuk is uniquely made for her harsh and icy climate. The Inuit people observed and learned from this awesome creature. They learned how to live with gratitude and pride in the coldness of the world, a world.
Theme: The story provides us with informational facts about the characteristics of the Nanuk or polar bear, the Arctic, and the Inuit.
Point of View – The story is told from the perspective of the Inuit people who came to the Arctic 40,000 years ago and learned how to survive by watching the polar bears.
Style: Story uses beautiful and awing illustrations and words to display the wonder and harmony of God’s creation, the cold and icy Arctic and the magnificent characteristics of the Nanuk. The harsh and gentle characteristics of God’s creation, the world, beast and man, are embodied in a warm and touching story of gratitude.
Perspective on Gender/race/economic/ability: Illustrations are breathtaking. They display the beauty of the icy Arctic, the changing seasons, and the Nanuk in a personal way. As you read the story, you want to hug a Nanuk. You want to cry. You want to thank God for the uniqueness of each creature and our relationship of dependency in the God’s world. There is no reference to race, economic or ability. The story becomes real from the worlds and is masterful with the illustration. The polar bears are referenced as male and female. The faces of the Inuit are not shown.
Scripture: Genesis 1:24-2:4, Psalm 8, Luke 12:22-34
Theology: The book is a powerful expression of the wonder of God’s creation and loving providential care. The polar bear is uniquely made by God to survive and gratefully live in what seems to be an unforgiving, icy cold, and often dark place, the Arctic. The polar bear and mankind share this world and together we must care for it and each other. We are called to be stewards of God’s creation and grateful for God’s love and care.
Faith Talk Questions:
- Why do you think God made cold places like the Arctic?
- How does God take care of the polar bears?
- How does God take care of the Inuit?
- Why should we take care of the polar bears?
- How do the polar bears and other animals care for us?
- Why are the Inuit thankful for the polar bears?
- Who are you thankful for and why?
- What are you thankful for and why?
Review prepared by Kim Stamey, MDiv/MACE, Entering cohort Fall 2003