21 June 2010

by Mercedes Montgomery
Published by Your Nickel’s Worth Publishing
Review by Joan Givner
$12.95 ISBN 978-1-894431-29-3

When Angela returns from holiday on her thirteenth birthday, she finds her room transformed into an arctic setting, complete with murals of polar bears. She has “had a thing” for polar bears ever since a family holiday in Jasper National Park. Subsequent chapters explain the source of her preoccupation, and take the form of an animal fable.

The polar bears of northern Manitoba have begun to have prophetic dreams of disaster. Led by a young bear called Nanuq, they convene to discuss the cause and remedy. The cause is global warming, melting ice, and the disappearance of their food source. They decide that the hope for saving their habitat lies with the children of the world, and resolve to find children and make them aware of their plight. Nanuq makes the arduous journey to Jasper, where he sees Angela. They are brought together when he rescues her from an accident on the ski-slope. From that moment on, she is converted to the cause of saving the polar bears and joins forces with others converted to activism by the traveling bears.

Like most animal fables, this one has a strong moral theme. It combines the call to environmental activism with the message that young people can make a difference to the world. That they are the future is evidenced by the fact that Angela’s commitment lasts into adulthood. Her life’s work becomes the study of the polar bears of Wapusk National Park.

The combination of realism and fable works well to give the book a strong appeal. Angela is a fully realized character with whom readers can easily identify. She comes with protective parents, older and younger sisters, and an annoying brother. For those who are converted to the cause of helping polar bears, Montgomery supplies a useful bibliography of articles, books, and websites.


No Comments

Comments are closed.