Written by Jeanne Bushey
Illustrated by Vladyana Langer Krykorka
Northern Lights Books for Children (Red Deer Press), 2000
Juvenile Fiction, ages 5 to 9
Themes: Polar Bears, Inuit, Canada, Kindness
Opening: "Please take me with you tomorrow, Ananna," Pani begged as she sat beside her grandmother on their snow sleeping bench. "I want to help you bring food into our igloo."
Synopsis: Pani, an Inuit child, and her grandmother, are eking out a living in the Great White North. The kindly grandmother is doing her best to raise Pani, whose parents were killed in a polar bear hunt. Pani longs to be a great hunter like her parents, but is laughed at, in a society where only men are deemed to be fit hunters. When she finds herself out on the ice, face-to-face with a badly injured polar cub, she must decide whether to let him die or help him. Deciding to assist the cub, the mother bear later rewards Pani with magic cloth and fur.
Why I Like It: This is a lovely Inuit legend which highlights the northern people's respect and dependence on animals. It's a little jarring when the the cub suddenly begins speaking to Pani, so a pre-discussion about legends is probably in order. The illustrations are gorgeous, in a wash of purples, pinks and gold. I really love this story with it's feel-good ending.
Resources: Many Canadian curriculums promote WITS (a program to help children deal with conflicts). W=Walk Away. I=Ignore. T=Talk it Over. S=Seek Help. This story can be used in relation to the "walk away" and "ignore" strategies. Click here to find further ideas.
National Geographic for Kids has some information on polar bears. And click here for a blubbery experiment.
And you could check out Danielle's Place for some sweet polar bear crafts like this one:
Don't go away!! I have some very important thank you's to make! First of all, a HUGE thank you to Theresa at The Candy Dish for her Valentine Exchange Gift. Theresa went TOTALLY out of her way to make me the sweetest framed picture. As you can see, I LOVE to run (and those are actually MY runners in that picture)! But, as if that wasn't enough, she gifted me with all those other goodies, too. I am SO spoiled. Thank you, thank you, thank you, Theresa.