Ice Bear discussion guide



Author: Nicola Davies

Illustrator: Gary Blythe

Publisher: Walker Books

Synopsis: This is an informative, gorgeously illustrated study of the majestic polar bear. Huge, magnificent, alone, a white bear moves through the frozen Arctic. Powerful hunter, tender mother and gentle playmate - she shares this land of ice and snow with the Inuit people, who watch and learn from her.

Reasons for selection. Nicola Davies' lyrical writing is both emotive and well-researched. Information is presented in different ways, providing an opportunity for children to consider the differences. The striking illustration will engage and provoke discussion.

Discussion points

Before reading:

Show the front cover. This book is called 'Ice Bear'. What do we usually call the ice bear?

Invite the children to share what they know about Polar Bears. Where did they learn about Polar Bears: from books, television, zoos?

Provide some information about  author Nicola Davies. The pen portrait on her website is a good introduction. Is it important that non-fiction authors are very knowledgeable about the subjects they write about?

During reading:

  • Naming the Polar Bear: the book starts by giving us some alternative names for the Polar Bear including the Inuit name 'Nanuk'.
    • Are there any other names that you can think of that would be a good description for the Polar Bear e.g. seal slayer. You may want to revisit this after you have finished the book.
  • The Inuit live north of the Arctic Circle.
    • What do you imagine life must be like there?
    • Why  have they learned to live through a 'starlit day' and 'a sunlit night' 
    • Would you like to live In the Arctic? Why? Why not? 
  • What is the Great Bear that sparkles in the darkness?
  • Choose your favourite illustration and explain why you like it.
  • 'About Polar Bears' the text at the end of the book says that Polar bears are protected by international agreement wherever they roam'.
    • What does this mean? Why are they protected?
    • The book suggests some ways that we can help to protect the polar bear. Can you think of any others?

After reading




  • Can you answer these questions and find the evidence in the text?
    • Give three facts that explain how polar bear keeps warm in the frozen Arctic?
    • How do polar bears keep themselves clean?
    • Why is it important that polar bears keep themselves clean?
    • Why do polar bears play fight?
    • How many cubs are usually born to a mother polar bear?
  • What did you learn about polar bears from reading this book that you didn't already know?

Copyright Just Imagine Story centre Ltd

All rights reserved.

You may print these discussion notes for us in the classroom.

You may not reproduce these notes in any other format, in whole or in part without permission.

← Previous Post Next Post →