Monday, 30 August 2010

The Ice Bear by Jackie Morris

An enchanting, magical book
Review by Maryom

I feel extremely privileged to have a copy of this for review as I've been following its development through Jackie Morris' website and blog, and eagerly awaiting its publication.

An enchanting, magical book set in the beginning of time, before the naming and fixing of things, when men and animals were all equal. A polar bear cub is stolen away from his mother by a raven and raised by hunters as their child, till the day when he wanders far from home and is found by his bear-twin. Then he finds he must choose between his two families....

As always, Jackie Morris's paintings are the most gorgeous things imaginable for a children's book - though to call this merely a children's picture book is doing it a great dis-service. This isn't a 'picture book' in the sense of a cartoon type film tie-in but one of exquisite paintings, whether of wide open Arctic spaces or intimacy of hunter's tent. She manages to convey both the power and strength of the massive bears and their tenderness and love.

With wonderfully descriptive, poetic prose, it's suitable as either a bedtime storybook for a young child or read-alone for an older one, or play 'spot the arctic fox' as he hides in the background of many pictures. A book to spark a child's imagination and one they will treasure for always - or give in and treat yourself!

I'm a bit disappointed with the copy of the cover as lifted from the publishers' web site - the original has greater depth and such feeling in the bear's eyes. If you haven't come across Jackie Morris' work - either as paintings or book illustrations - visit her website where you'll find more of the illustrations and some rough drafts from The Ice Bear and other books.

Jackie blogs at

Maryom's review - 5 stars
Publisher - Frances Lincoln
Genre - Artistic Picture Story Book - All Ages

The Ice Bear can be purchased from Amazon

1 comment:

  1. Many thanks for this Mary. The animals in this book are all connected in some way wih the human, though this is in no way stated in the text. The fox is the totem animal of the bear/boy's mother. Owl is his father's spirit animal. And what not many people realise is that the book was set in the time when the world was new and animals and men were equal, and they still are. It is only the arogance on man that makes humans think that we are in any way a superior species.