Sara is visiting Grandad, who lives deep in the countryside. Their intention is to drive to Sara’s parents in the next day or two so that they can all be together for Christmas. But the snow starts to fall and soon they’re cut off from the world. Grandad keeps Sara entertained with stories of his Arctic childhood, especially of a young polar bear. The next day, she builds her own snow bear and then, as the snowstorm worsens, together they build an igloo. Soon their travel plans become precarious and Sara misses home. Desperate to ward off her homesickness, Grandad agrees to a midnight feast in the igloo. There, they contemplate the twinkling night sky – and Sara sets off on her own magical adventure involving a bear cub, the Northern Lights and Inuit culture.
The story is charming and beautifully written. It is realistic enough for us to empathise with Sara and to make her fantasy adventure all the more credible. Short descriptive passages capture the coldness of the landscape while facts about the Arctic, its people and animals bring the story alive. Though Sara encounters many a danger on her journey – and needs to show tremendous courage –the story is at all times gentle and reassuring. Organised into short chapters and interspersed with delicate pencil drawings, the book is perfect for young children developing their reading stamina.