Saturday, September 23, 2017

Fall Reading 2017 Polar Bear Postman


Milk is the postmaster of the Polar Bear Post Office. He delivers mail to all his forest friends, trundling along on his bicycle with his mail bag over his shoulder. But on day her receives a postcard asking for his help. The red-crowned cranes have lost their chick and can't find him anywhere. Milk springs into action, asking all the animals to help look for the lost chick. Forest animals of all sorts, from the sika deer to the Siberian chipmunks, are upset about the missing child and promise to send word if they learn anything. 

The story introduces ideas of mail, community, cooperation, and concern for others. Milk is shown as a post man and as a vital part of the lives of everyone he knows. When he is asked for help, he does not hesitate to respond, nor does he hold back from asking others for their assistance. The characters also introduce animals that may be unknown to children in the U.S. since red-crowned cranes, sika deer, and Siberian chipmunks are all native to Asia.

The illustrations are cleverly done on a colored background so that the white polar bear stands out in contrast. Many of the animals are shown in family groups such as the crane parents, the chipmunk with young ones, the doe (in reading glasses) with a fawn, etc. The process of sorting and stamping the mail in a small post office is also included, with Milk hand-stamping each letter "Shirokuma Post." Young readers who have rarely received letters in the mail may have their interest sparked and want to send postcards of their own. (If only the book could be marketed with a Shirokuma Post rubber stamp!)

A warm story with a happy ending, Polar Bear Postman offers a glimpse into a community where everyone is willing to help out a neighbor.

I read an e-book provided by the publisher through NetGalley.

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