Ten-year-old Henry Springs is thrilled when the wintery resort town he and his mom recently moved to experiences a record-breaking snowfall. There are even rumors that the extreme weather could mark the beginning of a new ice age.
One day, while exploring one of the many tunnels running through the town’s snowbanks, Henry discovers a strange, prehistoric-like creature that is seriously injured. Henry immediately names him Yarp and hauls the wounded animal back to his house on a makeshift sled. There he builds a secret cave for Yarp and slowly nurses him back to health. But, as Henry soon discovers, Yarp is not the only unusual beast lurking in the neighborhood. Where did these creatures come from and how can Henry keep his new friend safe?
Amid near-endless snowfall, Henry Springs, 10, a recent transplant from Vancouver Island, struggles to fit in at his new school in a mountain town, even after he receives a shovel as a present from his mother and joins one of the two teams creating snow tunnels in the schoolyard. While tunneling to escape bullies, Henry uncovers an injured creature that he has never seen before one with blue eyes and white fur. Startled, he falls and suffers a concussion. But Henry can't forget the creature's face during his recovery, even when others doubt its existence. He soon finds the creature (a "short-faced bear") and nurses it back to health, naming it Yarp. Henry learns that Yarp's family is in danger from saber-toothed tigers (which he dubs "fangers") and that he'll need the help of everyone at school to save Yarp and his family. Li's whimsical b&w illustrations increase the appeal of this sweet tale. Barrett glosses over how two extinct prehistoric species have come to exist in the present day, but readers who enjoy adventure stories with animals will appreciate the fast-paced chapters and the touching bond between a boy and his bear. Ages 8 10. \n