Polar Bear in the Rock: Two Windows on the World

Lay Summary 

This children's book presents a traditional Inuit legend explaining a rock formation in Labrador that resembles a polar bear. The text is the story in English and Inuttitut, with accompanying text explaining the rock formation from the perspective of a geologist, written by Derek Wilton.

The legend versions were collected by Nunatsiavut students Danielle Baikie and Shannon Webb.

Illustrations were done by Cynthia Colosimo.

From the publisher:
“Beneath Mount Sophie, across the bay from Nain, sits a single white boulder that looks like a polar bear. How did it get there?

Geologists call the rock that makes the ridge (and bear boulder) anorthosite, a group of hard rocks mostly made of the mineral anorthite. Anorthite is a plagioclase feldspar. It forms when a hot liquid rock, or magma, begins to cool. At a certain temperature, anorthite begins to form crystals in the magma. If the magma stays around that temperature for a long time, large amounts of anorthite collect to form anorthosite rock like that of the bear boulder.

But there is another story. A second 'window' on the world. It is the legend of a brave Inuit hunter - too old to join a hunting party - who protected the women and children of the camp from Nanuk, the polar bear. He used the only weapon he had: his drum, or Kilautik. Beating the drum, he calmed the crying children and howling dogs and stopped the polar bear dead in its tracks. That delightful story is retold here in English and Labrador Inuttut, the native language of Labrador's Inuit people.”
A second edition, translated into Innu-aimun, was published in 2012.

Earth Sciences
English Language and Literature
International Polar Year
Newfoundland and Labrador
Aboriginal Peoples
Aboriginal History
Polar Bears
Start date 
1 Jan 2010