The Ice Bear Miracle
Oxford University Press
Cerrie Burnell has woven a wonderful wintry tale sparkling with magic and ice set in the far north of Canada.
It tells of Marv Jackson whose life is changed when he survives a bear attack on the eve of his fifth birthday when he was ‘drawn to the ice, like a ship to a star’ and found himself in the mouth of a polar bear.
Marv is left with a crescent moon scar on his forehead that serves as a constant reminder of that night when a baby’s cry drew him forth and he discovered a raging infant in a basket and protected her from a bear cub. It’s an event that his community don’t accept for no child was ever found but Marv is left with her memory etched in his memory.
Then eight years on the boy, now a keen ice-hockey player, has a chance encounter with the mysterious Tuesday and her huge, much loved ice-skating polar bear, Promise, both part of a travelling carnival. Something stirs deep in his memory. Is it possible that the girl who has been injured in a skating accident is the baby he saw on the ice all those years ago?
But no sooner has the travelling carnival arrived than it leaves again. What are they running from Tuesday wants to know; and where are they bound? Marv is determined to find out for he feels that he and Tuesday are meant to be together.
With her magical writing, Cerrie Burnell fills her story with folklore of her own making. She portrays the Island of Bears with its close-knit community, as a truly incredible place drawing the reader in from the outset, and her narrative grips one like the icy hold that Tuesday’s guardian Gretta has on her. Despite its icy setting though, there’s a great deal of warmth, love and a powerful sense of belonging and yes finally, joy, between the covers of this book. I couldn’t put it down.