Polar bears are big news these days. Are they threatened? Endangered? Alaska’s Governor Sarah Palin is calling for a spendy conference to showcase scientific evidence that they’re doing more or less fine despite the threat of global warming. Politics and science collide.

In Jane Davies Okimoto’s new picture book Winston of Churchill, illustrated by Jeremiah Trammell (Sasquatch Books, 2008), polar bear activist Winston isn’t concerned about what list he ends up on. He just wants his ice. Like his World War II namesake, cigar-chomping Winston rallies his comrades, organizing a polar bear protest to draw attention to his warming world. Along the way, he realizes that he must make a change or two of his own.

Trammell’s delightful illustrations bring the polar protesters to life, and Okimoto wraps a simple explanation of global warming into the story. Okimoto’s not Alaskan, and neither is Winston – the acclaimed polar bear town of Churchill is in northern Manitoba. But this book gives a nice introduction to a serious issue that affects us all.

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