Panda and Polar Bear.
Baek, Matthew J. (Author) , Baek, Matthew J. (Illustrator)
Jun 2009. 32 p. Dial, hardcover, $16.99. (9780803733596).
While exploring, a curious little polar bear slips off a snowy cliff and lands in an unfamiliar, muddy environment. With his white fur spotted with brown, he meets a young panda, who thinks the polar bear is one of his own species. Soon, though, they discover differences. The panda loves eating bamboo, but the polar bear prefers fish, and while diving for a snack, his spots wash away. The polar bear worries, “What terrifically splotchy panda bear would want to be friends with a plain white polar bear?” But the panda is eager to hear about the polar bear’s snowy life. And when the polar bear realizes that he is homesick, the panda helps him find his family. The simple, lively text folds in light humor as it delivers a positive message about appreciating differences and finding commonalities, themes that are reflected in the soft watercolor illustrations, which culminate in a final overview of a world that is bigger and more diverse than the animated little bears realize. — Shelle Rosenfeld