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Waluk: 10/18/15

Waluk by Emilo Ruiz: a graphic novel about a polar bear

Waluk by Emilo Ruiz is a tween graphic novel about a polar bear learning how to live on his own. Though drawn in a style inviting to younger readers, it is still a frank portrayal of polar bear life.

While munching through dozens of eggs, Waluk meets an elderly polar bear. Reluctantly he decides to mentor Waluk. But his life lessons are harsh — all polar bear mothers abandon their cubs eventually and violent — how to hunt.

Waluk also learns how to live among humans. He learns about the easy to obtain but nasty garbage at the dump. He learns how to tip over tourist buses for snacks. And for his effort, his mentor is captured and sentenced to death.

There is a "happy" ending but it works on the premise that Waluk is able to move beyond his solitary nature and convince other bears to join him. It's sort of the Happy Feet ending (minus the dance number). It's the one place where Waluk and the others are the most anthropomorphic.

Four stars

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