My Bear Griz
By Suzanne McGinness (Illustrator)
(Frances Lincoln Children's Books, Hardcover, 9781847801135, 32pp.)
Publication Date: August 2011
Categories: Animals - Bears
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Billy has a bear called Griz. A Grizzly Bear. And the two friends have all kinds of wonderful adventures together. They go exploring, they play hide and seek, they eat peanut butter and honey sandwiches, share secrets and tell jokes. They even go out at night to do some star-gazing - and their favourite constellation is the Great Bear of course. Griz is the best friend a boy could possibly have. And is he a real Grizzly Bear or a teddy bear? Well, that's for every reader to decide, but there are definitely big bear pawprints leading out of the book! This painterly picture book, with its spare text, including speech bubbles, and its wonderful full-page images of a very real bear, is an exciting debut by an American artist who studied illustration in the UK. It's a book for reading aloud to young children, but will be enjoyed equally by older children and adults.
In My Bear Griz, the first book written and illustrated by Suzanne McGinness, a young boy wearing a paper crown declares, My name is Billy and I love bears” in immense text that mirrors the size of Griz, a grizzly, of course, and the bear he loves best. He goes on to describe the ins and outs of their friendship - they like to eat peanut butter and honey sandwiches, snuggle up for naps and stargaze in tandem. The sequence feels like a warmhearted coda to Jez Alborough’s Eddy and the Bear” series.
There is no story here to speak of, but it’s a sweet portrait of an imaginary friendship. The book’s strength is the illustration, which combines a scratchy, colorful Paul Galdone-like bear along with mixed media images: the boy with a collaged hat, intervals of childish penciled handwriting, watercolor washes and pen-and-ink drawings." - The New York Times