Two intrepid librarians

Two intrepid librarians review the best nonfiction books for children

Friday, August 4, 2023

Polar: Wildlife at the Ends of the Earth by L. E. Carmichael

Polar: Wildlife At The Ends of the Earth
Written by L. E. Carmichael; Illustrated by Byron Eggenschwiler
Kids Can Press. 2023

In this large format, informational picture book, nonfiction writer, Carmichael, investigates how animals survive throughout the year in the harsh environments of The Arctic Circle (The North Pole) and Antarctica (The South Pole). Carmichael states, "These two areas contain some of the harshest habitats on this planet." 

Yet, despite being at opposite ends of Earth, these two regions have a lot in common weather-wise. "They are bitterly cold, freeze-dried wildernesses, where the wind can blow harder than hurricanes. They are also the only places on Earth were daylight - and darkness - lasts up to six months."

Using double-page spreads with digitally created illustrations by Eggenschwiler, the author compares the two regions, month-by-month, by looking at a different aspect of how animals survive in these regions. "A Warm Blanket," starts off in March were we learn of the challenge of staying warm for polar animals in both the Arctic and Antarctica. For the Arctic where daylight returns, the arctic fox, to stay warm, has thick fur covering their toe pads. While March in Antartica, the sun sets and for six months there is no sun, only darkness. We see how a seabird, off course and exhausted, must struggle to stay warm while it waits out a storm before "winging back home to the open sea."

Included is comments on climate change and its impact on the polar regions, why polar regions are important to the rest of the world, how to take action to stop climate change. In addition is a list of online resources, a glossary, resources for further reading, and an index.

The book does a good job of comparing and contrasting these fascinating regions.  There is just enough information to peek a child's curiosity. 

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