Not only is the polar bear "great" in Lesser's words, but it is also "strong," "brave," "restless," "hungry" and "alone" as it wanders the ice looking for food (seals), a mate, and ways to cool off in the increasingly warmer Arctic summer. The author's notes include a journal segment from her research trips (6!) to the Arctic in both winter and summer. The notes also includes a warning as sea ice disappears: ...."although stable, polar bear populations have not returned to their highest numbers. Bears are still smaller, and fewer cubs are born every three years--not two."
This book represents the best in nonfiction literature. It is factual. It is accurate. But its telling is through the filter of Carolyn Lesser-- a human being with passion for her subject. She skillfully uses her writer's craft and artist's skill to illuminate the life and struggles of one of Earth's most impressive animals. This book is evocative for the reader and it needs to be shared in story-time readings with children so they are caught up in a true story of adaptation and survival, something worth marveling at.