My Bear Griz by Suzanne McGinness (Frances Lincoln, 2011) captures Billy’s friendship with his bear Griz, who is, of course, a grizzly bear.
My Bear Griz is a wonderfully oversized book with just a few words on each page. This just makes it plain fun for examining the pictures, which are watercolor and pen, as well as what looks like a collage. Some parts of the illustrations (and editorial remarks) look like they are drawn by a young child, but the detail of the pictures reveals otherwise.
I love how Billy tells us about all the adventures he has with his bear, and it is only the last page that lets the reader see that Griz is, as one might have suspected, actually a teddy bear. Even after the last page, however, my son (my in-house preschool picture book assessor) insisted that Griz was a real bear. “See?” he said, pointing to the other pages in the book. “Billy plays with him all the time.”
I should have known I wouldn’t have been able to convince my son, who is often in an own imaginary world of his own. A great celebration of imagination!
I received a review copy of this book from the publisher for consideration for the Cybils awards.