CM . . . .
Volume V Number 19 . . . . May 21, 1999
Polar Bear Cubs Creamy white polar bear cubs are hard to see or hear in their frozen homeland. Their paws are covered with fur for warmth, traction, and "soundproofing" so seals under the ice can't hear them. Cubs slide down icy slopes into frigid waters, splashing and dog-paddling with their huge paws.Likely the wonderful wildlife photography of Art Wolfe is what will initially attract young readers to Northwest Animal Babies, but Helman's brief text should not be overlooked. For each of the 26 different creatures, she manages to include some interesting fact which may not be readily known by most youngsters. For example, readers can learn that the age of Dall Sheep can be determined by counting the rings on their horns while newborn opossum kits are "no bigger than a bumble bee." The range of babies presented is large and encompasses creatures of the sea, air and land. Water babies include tiny coho salmon fry , a 400 lb. Orca calf and river otter pups while those of the air include burrowing owl owlets, Canada geese goslings, crow fledglings, trumpeter swan cygnets and golden eagle eaglets. Among the babies of the land are porcupine, racoon and mountain goat kits, bison calves, white-tailed deer fawns, bobcat kittens and cougar cubs. Each pair of facing pages usually contains large, clear coloured photos of two different babies who are sometimes shown with their mothers. Double-page spreads are given over to sea otter, gray wolf and harbour seal pups plus polar bear cubs. Wolfe's photographs are really portraits which capture something of the "character" of the animal babies whether it's the yawning owlet, the huddled pronghorn antelope kid or the curious red fox kits. Despite the seeming geographical limitations of the book's title, Northwest Animal Babies is a book for everywhere.
Dave Jenkinson teaches courses in children's and YA literature in the Faculty of Education, the University of Manitoba.
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