Tuesday, December 18, 2012

POLAR SLUMBER by Denis Rockhill

Rockhill, Denis. Polar Slumber. Green Bay: Raven Tree Press, 2006. ISBN: 978-0-974199-28-3, $16.95. Ages: Picture Books (Pre-school to Grade One). Bilingual text also available.

Polar Slumber is the perfect bedtime story. A young child ventures out into freshly fallen snow. Warmly bundled in a knitted sweater, scarf, and mittens she forms a large snowball. Rather than make a snowman, though, she shapes a polar bear's snout.

That night, as she falls asleep, her playful, outdoor imaginations of the day seep into the warmth of slumber. She is invited by a mother and baby polar bear—her "gentle, furry friends"—to "explore the northern beauty on [a] moonlit arctic journey."

All along, she is watched over by the mama and baby polar bear as a snow owl swoops overhead and she pets an adorable, large-eyed seal and runs her hands over a wolf pup. They travel until their "eyelids grow heavy...[and they] snuggle together" as her soft covers morph into a polar bear or perhaps the polar bear morphs into her soft covers.

From what I can tell, Denis Rockhill is both author and illustrator of Polar Slumber and he competently fulfills both roles. The knitted texture of the young girl's clothes and blanket nicely offset the delicate, peaceful feel of the wintery blue and white of the arctic animals and surroundings. An additional curious feature worth mentioning is what appears to be an alternative story along the bottom of every other page. Done in graphite, it adds yet another dimension to a lovely book.

Stephanie Ashley

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