If you’re looking for a picture book and music experience to express the joy and peace of the holiday season, “Polar Bear Night” will delight your students with its starry winter magic.
This is one of my all-time favorite children’s books, although it was written fairly recently, by Lauren Thompson, the author of the popular “Mouse’s First…” series. The story is a very simple one, about a little polar bear cub who goes out to explore the nighttime world. She sees the animals in the water, sleeping quietly in the moonlight. And then a star shower lights up the night with magical sweetness. The story ends with the tired little cub going home to curl up with her mommy.
The illustrations, by Stephen Savage, are perfect for young children – simple, accessible, and beautiful.
I make this book a musical experience by reading it with “Aquarium,” from “Carnival of the Animals” by Camille Saint-Saens, as background. This piece could have been written with this book in mind! Not only does it take up the exact amount of time that it takes to read the book at a relaxed pace, but a gorgeous, enchanting piano solo coincides with the cub’s return to her home.
Whenever I read this book to this music, my young students are absolutely entranced – even the loudest, rowdiest children are caught up in the magic.