ISBN-13: 978-1-4169-6787-3. “The Polar Bears’ Home – A Story about Global Warming” by Lara Bergen (illustrated by Vincent Nguyen) was published by Simon & Schuster Inc in 2008. This is a very thin paperback with only 24 pages. The book tries so hard to be ‘green’ it is almost a parody of itself. Putting aside the obvious cliché of making the entire book about Polar Bears, the book has a “Little Green Books” logo in one corner, its made from 100% recycled paper and brims over with phrases like “environmentally friendly” and “Earth-friendly”. And all that is just on the back cover. The blurb says “Come along on an Arctic adventure with a young girl as she learns about polar bears and the effects of global warming.” The illustrations are big and colourful whilst the text is minimal and large sized. The recommended age group is 4 to 6 years of age. The books starts with a description of the Artic through the eyes of a child who lives there. She goes on a boat ride with her father and meet two polar bear cubs. The father explains all about the breeding cycle and the lives of polar bears. The two cubs in the story appear to be alone and abandoned.
The little girl asks if she can care for them but the father points out that they grow very big and that would not be practical. He goes on to describe the threat to the bears from global warming. This is caused by human burning oil and coal. It emits a gas which forms a “tent around the earth and traps in extra heat”. We learn how the shorter Arctic winters threaten polar bear survival. Then the cubs’ mother appears and rescues the two offspring. The human father and daughter follow them. We conclude that these bears, and many like them, need our help. Children can contribute by recycling, tree planting and switching off electrical appliances when not in use. This book comes over as a simplified version of the “Why are the Ice Caps Melting” (covered above) book by Anne Rockwell. It too is written for a North American audience so its simplistic solutions may be a revelation for kids in Kentucky but seem somehow lacklustre to children from Tokyo, Stockholm or London. This aside, this is a fun and simple little book for the very young and deserves a place in every child’s bookshelf. Probably a good starter for those early bed-time stories.