Grrrrr! by Rob Biddulph
|Grrrrr! by Rob Biddulph
|Category: For Sharing
|Reviewer: Z J Cookson
|Summary: A delightful, wacky and fun story with an important theme about friendship and honesty. Full of colourful pictures that will appeal to adults and children alike. Totally Grrrrreat!
|Date: August 2015
|Publisher: Harper Collins Children's Books
|External links: Author's website
Fred has won the contest for best bear in the wood for three years in a row. He's the best at everything from catching fish, doing the hula-hoop and scaring humans, to the all-important growling competition. But everything changes when another bear arrives and decides to enter the contest. Fred's no longer the best bear in town and, to make matters worse, he's lost his 'Grrrrr'. Fred's going to need help to find his 'Grrrr' in time for the start of the competition. But will the other animals want to help him look given he's been too busy training to make friends?
Rob Biddulph's debut picture book Blown Away won the Waterstones Children's Book Prize 2015 so Grrrrr has a lot to live up to. Fortunately it's totally grrrrreat in every respect – it's a delightful, wacky and fun story with an important theme about friendship and honesty that is supported by colourful pictures that will appeal to adults and children alike.
The themes of friendship and honesty may not be new but the story is fresh and full of interest, effectively combining fantasy and realistic elements. The concept of a contest for bears and the various rounds in the competition are suitably zany while other aspects are totally normal. For example, children will easily equate with the places that Fred and the animals search – in the shed, under the bed, and on the top of the wardrobe. Most of all I love the idea that a 'Grrrr' is something that can be stolen and hidden away.
The text itself is cleverly written with a sound rhythm and rhyming structure that will help children learn the text and to join in 'reading'. Some of the names of the animals may be a bit unusual but I don't think this affects the enjoyment of the story.
The illustrations are superb and I challenge any child (or adult) not to fall in love with the characters in these pages. Vibrant and colourful, the pictures appear simple at first glance but a closer examination reveals several pictorial sub-plots. The story of the rabbit is undoubtedly the most important of these: appearing on the very first page, the little rabbit accompanies Fred in each of the competition activities at the start of the book before gradually abandoning him in favour of attempts to win the affection of one of the other rabbits. I still find it impressive that the pictures can contain so much detail without detracting from the main story.
There is only one negative about this book and that relates to the production. I simply cannot understand why a book for this age range has a flimsy paper dust cover. Moreover, the hardback cover underneath has a different illustration and no title. I would suggest the publishers put a copy into the hands of the target audience and see how long the paper cover lasts!
If you enjoyed this, you might also like Rob's debut book Blown Away.
Grrrrr! by Rob Biddulph is in the Top Ten Picture Books 2015.
You can read more book reviews or buy Grrrrr! by Rob Biddulph at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
You can read more book reviews or buy Grrrrr! by Rob Biddulph at Amazon.com.
Like to comment on this review?
Just send us an email and we'll put the best up on the site.