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Wednesday, November 7, 2018

If Polar Bears Disappeared, written and illustrated by Lily Williams. Roaring Brook Press, Macmillan. Raincoast, 2018. $23.50 ages 6 and up

"Although they're the apex predators in the frozen north, polar bears are still vulnerable to threats like pollution and habitat loss. But the biggest threat to polar bears and other animals in their ecosystem is
the melting of the sea ice ..."

We know the sea ice is melting. Do we know what would happen if polar bears disappeared? It is a question posed by Lily Williams in this new informational picture book, written as a companion to her earlier book, If Sharks Disappeared, (Roaring Brook, 2017).

Should the sea ice continue to melt until polar bears can no longer exist in the Arctic environment they now inhabit, how would that loss affect the rest of that ecosystem and spread beyond it to the rest of the world? The more the ice melts, the more changes are seen in the Arctic. When there are no polar bears, the numbers among their prey would rise until the lack of ice also affected them in a more serious way.

"However, because ringed seals also rely on sea ice to mate, fish,
rest, and give birth, they would also struggle to adapt to the changing
environment, too."

And so it goes, affecting plants and causing the animals in the food chain to seek new homes where adaptation is more difficult. Such patterns would change all ecosystems. Have you considered the full impact of the loss of polar bears? Scientists have and they are working tirelessly to discover ways to find solutions and to teach all of us the connections between ecosystems and the life they support around the world.

A glossary, information about the Arctic and the impact climate change is having there, a list of things we all can do to help, an author's note, a bibliography for the research done and additional sources are included in backmatter. 

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