Tuesday, May 15, 2018

The Quest of the Cubs (Bears of the Ice #1)

Lasky, K35849451athryn. The Quest of the Cubs (Bears of the Ice #1)
February 27th 2018 by Scholastic Press
Copy provided by Young Adult Books Central

Two bear cubs are born in Nunquivik, north of Ga'Hoole. Their father is off hunting in the far, far north, and their mother has been approached by Roguers, who want to take her cubs to work for the Timekeepers of the Ice Cap, who believer their work with clocks somehow keeps the ice from melting. Svenna offers herself instead, so she trains her unnamed cubs as best she can and leaves them with Taaka, a relative with thre young cubs of her own. Unfortunately, Taaka is very mean and neglectful, so the cubs soon decide to run away to look for their father. The way north is treacherous, but they are helped along the way by a variety of kindly animals. They eventually name themselves Jytte and Stellan, and happen across another bear name Uluk Uluk in an abandoned town, perhaps left over from the Gold Rush. He seems helpful, but proves to be in league with some evil characters, but has at least introduced the cubs to the world of the Timekeepers and told them that their mother is most likely there. Eventually, the subs happen upon their smallest cousin, Third, who was kicked out of Taaka's house because he was so small, but he seems to have some mystical powers, as do Jytte and Svenna. In alternating chapters, we have also been learning about Svenna's life, working as a numerator, doing calculations for the Timekeepers. When she runs afoul of them, she spends time in jail where she meets ghosts of cubs who worked on the wheels. They aren't quite dead, but neither are they living, and Svenna makes up her mind to try to bring them back to life. Skagen, a snow leopard, helps the cubs make their way to the Ice Cap, only to come to grief when they arrive. Will the cubs be able to find their mother and rescue her? Read The Den of Forever Frost (Bears of the Ice #2) when it comes out on 9 October 2018.

Perfect for fans of talking animal books like London's The Wild Ones, Rocha's The Secrets of Bearhaven, and Iserles Foxcraft, this is essential for those who have followed Lasky's Guardians of Ga'Hoole series. Like most of these books, this has an element of the supernatural, and the cubs each have different powers that are helpful to them in their perils. They have a quest, although they are lacking the clans that is usual for this type of talking animal book.

The far north setting is well-described, although given how long this winter has been, I wish they had ventured south! There are a variety of animals, some of which are helpful and some, like Toothwalkers, which are terrifying. The bears do a lot of fishing and even kill some seals to eat, but are always respectful of their place in the food chain.

There will no doubt be more details about how the bears got involved with keeping clocks and with doing calculations to assure that the north will stay cold. The ghosts of the bears could also use a little more explanation, but we are learning about all of these things along with Jytte and Stellan. There are also sure to be battles to come as they rescue their mother and try to take down the evil Roguers.
Ms. Yingling

1 comment:

  1. My son liked The Guardians of Ga'Hoole series but we didn't make it through the entire series. I think we read about 5 of the books. Now he is reading Wings of Fire. Everyone in 7th grade seems to love this series.