Review: The Ice Bear Miracle

Book Title: The Ice Bear Miracle (available here)

Author: Cerrie Burnell

Illustrator: Sandra Dieckmann

Publisher: OUP

Publication Date: Feb 2020

Most Suitable For: Years 4-6

Reviewed By: Jacqueline Harris

Marv, known as Marvel, survived a polar bear attack when he was five. He remembers things rather differently from the local people who tell his story. He remembers a baby on the ice who was nowhere to be found after the attack. He also remembers a bear cub. Now he dreams of a girl dancing with a bear on the ice. Then his ice hockey playing leads him to a travelling carnival where a girl skates with a bear under the stars.

This is a wonderful story, skipping between the narrative of Marv and the girl with a bear. Set in the Canadian far north, it draws you in from the first page. It is a fantasy, with a fairy tale-like feel, and yet the setting is so vividly drawn that I had to look it up and see if it really exists (it doesn’t). The story reads like a folktale set in the modern world, full of myths and legends from the past. The pages are sprinkled with drawings that add to the atmosphere.

The characters are convincingly brought to life on the page - Marv and his family, Marv’s friends and fellow ice hockey players, the girl and the travelling carnival players. The villains could easily have slipped into cliché and yet they do not, as we can see the conflicting sides to them. I know that bears can’t really dance and skate, or even have a close relationship with a child, and yet I could entirely suspend disbelief with this book.

The story is full of emotion and vividly drawn characters and is one that will stay with me for a long time.


You can order The Ice Bear Miracle online or from your local bookshop or library.

Many thanks to the publisher for sending us a review copy of this book and to Review Panel member Jacqueline for reviewing it.

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