Book Review: Irving and Muktuk: Two Bad Bears

Rating: ★★★★☆

If sly hilarity and perfectly-paced comedic gags are your thing, you’ll love this series.  In the introductory volume, the polar bears Irving and Muktuk appear in the Canadian town of Yellowtooth, at the annual muffin festival. Officer Bunny — the highly competent law enforcement officer is a bunny dressed as a Canadian Mounty — foils their attempt to break into the muffin warehouse by loading fresh muffins in his police car and luring them into it, and a helicopter soon carries them north of the Arctic circle.  Not to be deterred, the bears reappear at successive festivals in more and more ludicrous costumes, only to be caught and carted away.  Finally Officer Bunny sells them to a New Jersey zoo… but only after ascertaining that the town has plenty of muffins.

Not everyone will love a children’s series dedicated to the criminal exploits of two polar bears driven by an insatiable desire for muffins. Some parents might feel the author treats stealing too lightly. But it’s clearly a fantasy, and the bears’ bumbling attempts never lead them into violence.  For a perceptive readership, parents might even have a discussion about how when you lack self-control, you make foolish decisions that get you into trouble. This isn’t a moral story, but it happens in a moral world, where the bears’ outlandish behavior leads to consequences. It’s best for an elementary audience.

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Publication Information: Pinkwater, Daniel. Irving and Muktuk: Two Bad Bears. Pinkwater, Jill (Illustrator). Irving and Muktuk; HMH Books for Young Readers. 2001. ISBN: 0618093346.
Categories: 4 Stars, Age 04-08
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Posted on December 10, 2014


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