“An annual roaring competition provides a platform for a sweet lesson about mistakes.”
The Grizzly Bear Who Lost His GRRRRR! is at its core the ideal read aloud. The cadence and rhyme scheme trip off the tongue as readers follow our favorite triangular grizzly bear on his journey of self-discovery from self-centeredness and an obsession with winning to a place where friendship rules supreme to the point of mercy. Biddulph’s award-winning illustration style creates images that are as engaging as the text itself, seamlessly switching between comic-book and more traditional style illustrations. The utilization of popping fonts in just the right amount and inclusion of delightful details (such as the flirtatious bunny to watch for on every spread, video game-like scores, etc.) that will continue to emerge through multiple readings add to the re-readability. Sensitive readers may be off-put by the bear event involving scaring of humans or the underwear perenially hanging from the stag’s antlers in the background, but choosing to focus on this minutiae at the cost of enjoying this book to the fullest would be a mistake. What do we discover about the looming and moustached Boris? With Fred’s decision to invite Boris “round for dinner” rather than ostracize him for his thievery, we’re reminded that Boris isn’t a bad guy, he just did a bad thing—an important distinguishment for children who need to be reminded that they are not their mistakes.
From the award-winning author and illustrator of Blown Away, Rob Biddulph, comes a delightfully hilarious story about a grizzly bear named Fred who loses his GRRRRR. Each year, for as long as the forest has stood, a contest is held for the bears of the wood… Fred is the champion. He’s the best. But being the best takes time and training, especially when it comes to having the loudest growl. Then, one morning, disaster strikes—Fred’s GRRRRR is gone! Oh, no! Will Fred find his GRRRRR and realize that there’s more to life than being a winner?
He is a bestselling and multi award-winning author/illustrator. His first picture book, Blown Away, was published in 2014 and was only the second illustrated book in history to win the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize. It was read as a CBeebies Bedtime Story by Mark Bonnar in 2017. His second book, GRRRRR!, was nominated for the CILIP Kate Greenaway medal and his third, Odd Dog Out, was nominated for a total of eight literary prizes, winning the BSC Festival of Literature Picture Book Award and the UKLA Student Shadower’s Vote Book Award. It was also read as a CBeebies Bedtime Story by Tom Hardy in 2017. His fourth, Sunk!, was nominated for the CILIP Kate Greenaway medal and shortlisted for The People’s Book Award and Oscar’s Book Prize, and his fifth, Kevin, was nominated for the CILIP Kate Greenaway medal and shortlisted for the BSC Festival of Literature Picture Book Award and the IBW Book Award. His sixth book, Happy Hatchday, is the first in the brand-new Dinosaur Juniors series, and the second, Give Peas a Chance, published in July 2018. As well as working on his own books he also illustrates for other authors including Jeff Brown (the Flat Stanley series), Piers Torday, Jess Butterworth, SE Durrant and Christian O’Connell. Before he became a full-time author/illustrator he was the art director of the Observer Magazine, NME, Uncut, SKY and Just Seventeen. He lives in London with his wife and three daughters and hasn’t given up hope that, maybe, one of them will go to an Arsenal match with him one day.
Where did you get the idea for GRRRRR!?
The problem with ideas is you never know when you’re going to get one. Also they often disappear as quickly as they arrive. So I have a google doc permanently open on my phone and am sure to make a quick note whenever and wherever inspiration strikes. This is what happened with GRRRRR!: I was in the car listening to an easy listening radio station called Magic FM and a song by a band called Everything But The Girl came on. For some reason I thought “Ooh, ‘Everything But The GRRRRR’ would make a good title for a picture book” so I made a note. A few days later I had a longer think about who could be missing this GRRRRR and, for some reason, I decided that a story about a prize-winning bear who lost his growl the day before a loud-growling competition might have potential. I then knuckled down to some sketchbook work and managed to extrapolate a fuller story arc from that original kernel, weaving in a subtle message about friendship and the fact that winning isn’t everything along the way. And so GRRRRR! was born.