I’m sorry to do this to you all, but I just have to share a preview of this book, even though it’s not due out until September! It’s gorgeous! It’s glorious! It’s lyrical and inviting and informative and deep. Literally.
Gorgeous, translucent illustrations accompany this lyrical exploration of the seasons and wildlife in the Antarctic. The narrative opens in the dark of winter.
In the final freeze of an Antarctic winter,
green tails wave across a star-full sky…
If this world looks empty,
When we turn the page, the sky has lightened, and an iceberg calves and floats away from the mainland, heralding the start of Spring.
As the berg floats through the seasons, krill emerge and the predators that eat them feast. Penguins, leopard seals, orcas, terns, cormorants, humpback whales, etc. make their appearances, along with animals the reader is not as likely to be familiar with, like shearwaters and salps.
A glorious, drool-worthy gatefold spread shows all of the activity that’s happening below the surface of the sea.
Over the span of a year, the berg grows smaller. It lists and then tips. Nothing in this environment remains the same. And even though the Antarctic may sometimes look lifeless, there is always life in the water, under the ice, or in the skies.
The author provides a glossary explaining terms that may be unfamiliar to the young reader and a brief note describing the effects of climate change on both poles.
The illustrations are so beautiful, I find myself going back to marvel at how the illustrator created such a sense of depth to the water. It’s magical. And I also enjoyed revisiting descriptions in the text, particularly unusual use of language like “flip-edged pancakes,” “terns wheel overhead,” “Fish-fat and sleek, the emperors belly slap,” and “green tails wave across a star-full sky.”
This is a gorgeous nonfiction book that should ignite children’s interest as they learn about the seasons and the cycles of life in the polar regions. I’m just sorry you’ll have to wait until September to enjoy it. But you can pre-order it now so you’ll have it in your library for the Fall.
Pair this book with Good Eating: The Short Life of Krill by Matt Lilley, illustrated by Dan Tavis.
Watch this YouTube video about the difference between the Arctic and Antarctic.
Watch this brief Blue Planet/BBC Earth YouTube clip of whales and fur seals feasting on krill near Antarctica.
Title: Iceberg: A Life in Seasons
Author: Claire Saxby
Illustrator: Jess Racklyeft
Publisher: Groundwood Books, 2022 (September)
Ages: Elementary school
Themes: Antarctica, polar wildlife, seasons
For more perfect picture book recommendations, please visit Susanna Hill’s website.