My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I’ve gone into shock from the weather. The fact that I’ve put the heating on, and had to have an extra blanket, has made me fall back several months.
And it has made me seek out books of snow and Winter and of Christmas and of polar bears and of ice and of marshmallows toasted by the fire. So prepare yourself, for this is the first of several spectacularly unseasonal reviews.
The Snow Bear is adorable. I’m always a little wary of books for this age group (sort of 10 and under) and of this style, because I tend to presuppose a lack of quality. It’s awful, but it’s true and it’s something I need to acknowledge in a review of this nature. I’m not keen on books that feel like they’ve been mass produced and spewed out by committee.
So now I need to reinforce that The Snow Bear is very much not that. It’s a very gorgeous (and beautifully produced) book. Webb tells the story of Sara and that snowy Christmas with a lot of sympathy and warmth. What’s also pleasing is that Webb doesn’t talk down to her reader. Sara’s a lovely, brave and caring individual and it’s hard not to love her.
I also really loved the use of illustrations throughout The Snow Bear. There’s some that are mere fragments and others that spread over two pages. They act in a variety of ways, reinforcing the story and at others stilling the reader into silence as they realise the vast Arctic world that Sara’s found herself in. There’s some clever work here and it’s a book that will help develop visual as well as textual literacy.
I’d recommend The Snow Bear quite happily because it’s lovely. Sometimes a book is just so solidly comforting and heart warming that it’s hard to not smile when you’ve finished it. It’s a dumpling of a book. I love dumplings.