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Little Polar Bear Finds a Friend P

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K-Gr 3-- First introduced in Little Polar Bear (1987) and Ahoy There, Little Polar Bear (1988, both North-South), the frisky cub, Lars, is now captured while searching for a playmate and is placed in an airplane cargo-hold full of animals destined for a zoo. He frees himself and the other animals, traveling back to his Arctic home with a walrus and a small brown bear. The would-be adventure story is so understated that little excitement is generated, and each event is described so briefly that the drama of Lars's capture, escape, and long trek home is downplayed. Instead, the emphasis is on friendship and cooperation, as each animal makes a special contribution to the journey's success. De Beer's subtle promotion of positive relations among races is marred by the bear's feeling that her brown color will make her unacceptable. The overall effect is gently didactic, but not overbearingly so. The large watercolors are appealing and certainly show more energy and emotion than the text. The animals' faces are expressive and slightly comical, and the little round bodies of the cubs are endearing. The size of the illustrations reflects the grandness of the events, and makes them particularly suited for group sharing. --Danita Nichols, New York Public Library

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