Cover image for Ice Bear and Little Fox
Ice Bear and Little Fox
London, Jonathan, 1947-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Dutton Children's Books, [1998]

Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 28 cm
Describes how a polar bear and the little fox that follows it survive over the course of a year in the Arctic. Includes afterword with facts about Arctic animals and Inuit peoples.
Reading Level:
AD 660 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 4.1 0.5 31570.

Reading Counts RC K-2 4.2 2 Quiz: 25558 Guided reading level: O.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PIC BK. Juvenile Fiction Childrens Area-Picture Books

On Order



Following the critically acclaimed Red Wolf Country, Jonathan London and Daniel San Souci team up again for another action-packed nature tale. Readers can share the adventures of a young polar bear during the most danger-filled period of his life -- his first year away from his mother. And almost everywhere Ice Bear goes, an alert little companion follows, keeping guard over his mammoth friend by warning him when trouble is near.

In a brilliant blue palette, San Souci's watercolors exquisitely render the striking, panoramic landscapes of the northern tundra. Young readers will enjoy the unlikely friendship between creatures big and small, while adult readers can appreciate both author's and illustrator's care for authenticity of detail. A must-have tour de force for nature lovers of any age.

Author Notes

Jonathan London was born a "navy-brat" in Brooklyn, New York, and raised on Naval stations throughout the U.S. and Puerto Rico. He received a Masters Degree in Social Sciences but never formally studied literature or creative writing. He began to consider himself a writer about the time he graduated from college. After college he became a dancer in a modern dance company and worked at numerous low-paying jobs as a laborer or counselor. He wrote poems and short stories for adults, earning next to nothing despite being published in many literary magazines. For some 20 years before he penned his first children's book, London was writing poetry and short stories for adults. In the early 1970s, he was reading his poems in San Francisco jazz clubs, and those experiences found their way into his witty children's book Hip Cat, which has been featured on the PBS children's television show Reading Rainbow.

After writing down the tale The Owl Who Became the Moon in 1989, London began to wonder if other people might want to read it. He picked up his kids' copy of Winnie-the-Pooh and saw that the book was published by Dutton, so he casually decided to send his story to them. Surprisingly enough, they wanted to publish him. Working with different illustrators, and occasionally with co-authors, London has produced literally dozens of books. Most have appeared under his name, but some have come out under a pseudonym, which still remains a secret.He has published over forty books and has earned recognitions from organizations like the National Science Teachers Association.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Ages 5^-8. London and San Souci team up to present a realistic story about a polar bear's first year away from its mother. As Nanuq the Ice Bear prowls the ice floes looking for a seal to catch, he is followed by an arctic fox hoping to get the leftovers. Little Fox is never far away as the bear wanders through the long, dark winter. He is with his friend as he eats tundra berries in the summer, and he warns the bear of dangerous killer whales and walruses in the summer seas. In autumn the fox goes to find a mate, but as winter returns, the two animals are reunited. This time they are joined by Little Fox's mate, and the cycle begins again. London's description of an actual symbiotic relationship gives children all the danger and excitement of an arctic adventure, and San Souci's vivid paintings, full of various shades of blue and white, show the seasons of the Arctic year and the animals that move through them as they capture the frigid atmosphere of the setting. The dramatic text and the large, bold illustrations make this book a perfect readaloud for a group. --Helen Rosenberg

Publisher's Weekly Review

Seasoned collaborators London and San Souci (Red Wolf Country) head north in this informative account of a polar bear's first year away from his mother. Subtle watercolors conjure a chilly landscape in hues of blue and green, a fitting backdrop for the starring pair of predators‘a polar bear and the arctic fox who survives on his leftovers. Generously sprinkling Inuit words into his text (a glossary is provided), London tracks the duo from season to season with lyrical observation‘the fox is "white and ghostlike in the low moon"; icebergs "groan and growl and rumble like thunder." London charts the bear's hunting prowess, his summer feasts of berries and lichens on the tundra and his narrow escape from a killer whale attack. As the text deftly describes the cycles of the arctic circle, the animals and environment also spring to vivid life under San Souci's sure brush. A wide-angle vista of a tundra meadow unfurled before snowy mountains gives way to a close-up shot of the bear and his companion; readers join a seal below the water's surface, looking up toward a breathing hole in the ice. While this year-long sojourn lacks the urgency and depth of the story line in Nanuk (Children's Forecasts, Nov. 16), it is nonetheless skillfully wrought. Ages 5-9. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

K-Gr 3-When Ice Bear spends his first year away from his mother and hunts for food on his own, an Arctic fox tags along in order to feed on the polar bear's leftovers. After many months of this arrangement, Little Fox is able to repay his huge companion by barking a warning to him that killer whales, one of the bear's few predators, are moving toward him. The story ends with winter approaching and Ice Bear now being followed by two companions, Little Fox and his mate. As in London and San Souci's Red Wolf Country (Dutton, 1996), the watercolor paintings meld well with the low-key narrative. The illustrations crackle with various shades of blue and white, capturing the vast coldness of the environment. A handful of Inuit terms and other words that relate to the region appear in the text and are explained in the glossary. An afterword provides factual information about polar bears and Arctic foxes. This book will be especially appreciated in libraries where Joanne Ryder's White Bear, Ice Bear (Morrow, 1989; o.p.) is popular.-Tom S. Hurlburt, La Crosse Public Library, WI (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.