A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
A polar bear cub in an era of disappearing ice loses her mother to orca whales. A grizzly cub's mother abandons him after his sickly brother dies. And a black bear cub, who lives in a zoo, escapes to find the grizzly after meeting his captured mother. All three must learn to survive in the wild on their own, and all three are drawn by the North Star toward a mysterious fate. Includes maps of the bears' journeys.
Is it any good?
Erin Hunter, the pseudonym for a group of writers who created the various Warriors fantasy series about feral cats, takes her time getting this new series about bears started. By the end not all of the characters have even met, the quest referred to in the title is undefined, the fantasy element only starts to come out, and a real plot has not yet emerged, though it is hinted at. What you get instead is a vivid and realistic portrayal of the lives of different types of bears in a time of global warming, shrinking habitat, and human intrusion, from the points of view of bear cubs who think and communicate with each other like humans, even as they act like bears.
The chapters rotate among the three main characters as their stories gradually begin to converge. Though there's much wandering and only hints of the story to come, readers will be gripped by the fascinating and often cruel lives of the bears, and by the vivid settings. A cliffhanger ending, along with the mysterious hints about what is to come will leave young readers hungry for more. Warriors fans looking for more of the same will be disappointed, but animal lovers will find this story's mix of anthropomorphism and realism appealing, and Hunter may find an entirely new audience.