________________ CM . . . . Volume XIV Number 9 . . . .December 21, 2007


Snowy White World to Save.

Stephanie Lisa Tara. Illustrated by Alex Walton.
Dallas, TX: Brown Books, (www.brownbooks.com), 2007.
32 pp., hardcover, $19.95.
ISBN 978-1-933285-89-4.

Preschool-grade 2 / Ages 4-7.

Review by Harriet Zaidman.

**½ /4

Reviewed from f&g's.



cubs learn to crawl
as Mother bear smiles

they must learn to walk
to travel long miles


The changing environment can no longer be ignored; there are no books about the natural world that fail to mention global warming and its consequences. Young children are aware that animals are affected by climate change and human activity, and their picture book stories also reflect that consciousness.

     The ice is melting in the North, making the potential extinction of the polar bear in the wild an increasing possibility. Snowy White World to Save educates young children about how the melting of ice floes prevents bears from being able to stalk and kill seals, their main source of food. The text is written as a simple poem, with only two lines per page, following the baby bears as they emerge from the den for the first time and follow their mother on the hunt. The once-frozen sea is now open water, and the bears wind up foraging for food in garbage dumps near human settlements. The bears are driven off in the inevitable clash, a situation which leads to the question:

across the land
of the midnight sun
the ice is melting…

oh, what can be done?

(well, lots can be done...
just turn the page)

internal art     ...which offers young children information about global warming and suggestions on how even they can help reduce their footprint on the planet. Website addresses are listed for further research.

      The book is oversized and would, therefore, be suitable as a teaching tool in a classroom. The text is printed in a big sans serif font on top of large watercolour paintings by Alex Walton whose representations of polar bears and the Arctic climate are striking. Walton uses bold brush strokes to depict the raw environment, and the animals are portrayed naturally, adding to the educative value of the book. He wisely draws the bears circling a freshly-killed seal, its trail of blood a pale yellowy-orange so that young readers won't be distracted from the book's message.

      The poetic story is fairly short, and it feels as if Tara was searching for words that would fit the story. They give the poem an urgent, preachy tone:

Mother and cubs
walk many slow miles
tired, they reach
unsavory piles


Mother and cubs run far away
Mother's fierce pride
hot, on this day

     That being said, our children deserve a better world than we have created, and Snowy White World to Save can help to raise their consciousness to demand change and do better for yet the next generation.


Harriet Zaidman is a teacher-librarian in Winnipeg, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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