The Polar Bear’s Gift: Review and Fun Activities

Inside: A review of The Polar Bear’s Gift, an Inuit legend.
The Polar Bear's Gift. Book review by Grade ONEderful. Includes lots of links to resources!

Title: The Polar Bear’s Gift
Written by Jeanne Bushey
Illustrated by Vladyana Langer Krykorka
Publishing: Northern Lights Books for Children (Red Deer Press), 2000
Audience: Ages 5 to 9
Themes: Polar Bears, Inuit, Canada, Kindness


“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.”


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 its feel-good ending.

Book Related Activities:

1. 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.

2. National Geographic for Kids has some slides and great information on polar bears.

The Polar Bear\'s Gift. Book review by Grade ONEderful. Includes lots of links to resources!


3. Here’s an easy experiment to explore how blubber keeps polar bears warm.

4. You could check out Crafty Morning for some sweet polar bear crafts

5. Check out this post for a review of the book Snow Bear. I’ve included lots of links to some really cute polar bear art works.

6. If you’re studying polar bears, here’s a fun idea using trioramas.

The Polar Bear's Gift. Book review by Grade ONEderful. Includes lots of links to resources!

See Susanna Hill’s blog if you’d like to join the fun in Perfect Picture Book Friday.


14 thoughts on “The Polar Bear’s Gift: Review and Fun Activities”

  1. Thank you for sharing! I strongly believe that character building should be a vital part of the curriculum at any age. I have done it with Kinders, as well as middle school. I got a positive result with 7th graders by creating relatable scenarios that they could problem solve…I have never heard of WITS…but I LOVE that idea! My mom is an administrator at an elementary school in California & she is always looking for more creative ways to integrate character building into the curriculum. I am not sure that she has heard about this either…(I haven't talked to her about it anyway) – I will def. pass this along (-;MichelleThe 3AM Teacher

  2. The polar bear book looks gorgeous, Barbara, and very interesting. I love books based on legends from other cultures. I am looking forward to searching this one out and reading it! Thanks so much for sharing it and adding it to our list!

  3. This book looks like it would TOTALLY fit in our Books That Teach collection! Thanks for the tip. And thanks for stopping by the Corner; I'd LOVE for you to sing our song!!Barbara


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