Moon Bears, or Asiatic black bears, are so named because of the white moon-shaped blaze on their chests. The moon bears are seldom seen but their footprints, claw marks, hair, and bear nests high in the trees give us clues about how they live. Sadly, there are now more moon bears in captivity than in the wild, as these animals are being "farmed" for their commercially valuable bile.
Brenda Guiberson's lyrical text and Ed Young's stunning illustrations combine in a winning tribute to this endagered species. Follow one moon bear in the wild as she eats, plays, hibernates, and wakes up again in the spring.
Moon Bear is a 2011 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year.
Guiberson (Life in the Boreal Forest) uses lyrical call-and-response phrases to describe the endangered southeast Asian moon bear's activities, after she wakes from hibernation. Who scratches the birch tree and licks oozing sap? Hungry moon bear, slurping sweetness after months without food. Moon bear's dramatic shape composed of inky-dark cut paper, with a striking, white chest blaze that gives the animal its name contrasts against Young's (Hook) layered collages, which include photographic images of bark, bamboo, and forest floor. The moon bear marks its territory, eats (a lot), and sleeps, and as time passes, she prepares for hibernation once more; when she reawakens, she emerges a Mama moon bear, with cubs. Despite the dangers the bears face (an author's note features photographs of moon bears with information about farms in which thousands of them are kept), the text itself includes only a glancing mention of poachers and loggers. The book's subtlety keeping the focus on the bear's peaceful everyday life, rather than the threats to its existence is likely to inspire readers' compassion and concern. Ages 4 8.