Guiberson, Brenda Z., and illustrated by Ed Young. Moon Bear. New York: Holt, 2010.
This is a beautifully illustrated informational picture book about the rare moon bear or asiatic bear. The story follows one moon bear through a year of activities beginning and ending with waking up in the Springtime from hibernation. Each page starts with a question and then a poem like answer. For example:
"Who blinks in the sunlight that peaks through the Himalayas?
Sleepy moon bear,
from a long winter snooze."
We see what these bears eat, drink, and do while they are awake. The end of the story shows a mama and baby moon bear awaking in the Spring. We also learn that these bears have a blaze on their chest that looks like a crescent moon. The endpapers of the book have black bear shapes on a blue background, that draw the reader into the story of this mysterious bear. The reader learns that these bears live in Southeast Asia and that there are more of them in captivity than in the wild. The book information page states that a portion of the proceeds from the sale of this book will be donated to the Animals Asia Foundation to help the moon bears and other animals of Asia. Check out their informational website to learn how you can help.
At the back of the book there is an author's note about moon bears, photos of real moon bears and information about how you can help these bears.
This book is recommended for children ages 4-8 and has received a star review from School Library Journal. Be sure to check out this video about the book.
The author, Brenda Z. Guiberson has authored many books for children including the recent title, Life in the Boreal Forest. The illustrator, Ed Young, has illustrated numerous children's books. He is a Caldecott medalist, Caldecott Honor recipient (twice), and has been nominated twice for the Hans Christian Anderson Award.
Extension Activities: The author's website includes an activities guide with discussion questions and activities. Children could do research about this bear and find ways that they can help. There are numerous websites available with information about these fascinating bears.
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Be sure to check out the other Nonfiction Monday posts, this week hosted at Moms Inspire Learning.