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Who is Moon Bear?

Moon Bear, it turns out, is an Asiatic black bear that's in trouble. It's also a gem of a book for children.  And, unlike many books with a save-the-animals bent, this one doesn't harp. It's just plain lovely.

If you want to read about the plight of the bear, it's there at the end. According to conservation groups, the elusive, nocturnal bears are captured and kept in cages, where they are milked of the "bile," used in traditional medicines.

But the book itself is gorgeous. Illustrator Ed Young has created collage-like pictures of the bear, and Brenda Z. Guiberson has created text that, to me, echoed the elegance of haiku poetry.

Who scratches the birch tree

and licks oozing sap?

Hungry moon bear,

slurping sweetness

after months with no food.

Who claws the tree trunks

In the rhododendron forest?

Cautious moon bear,

marking her territory.

Some of the proceeds from the sale of the $16.99 book, published by Macmillan Children's Publishing Group, are  being donated to Animals Asia, which operates sanctuaries for rescued bears.