The Grizzly Bear Who Lost His GRRRRR!

The Grizzly Bear Who Lost His GRRRRR! illus. by Rob Biddulph. 40p. HarperCollins. Nov. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062367259.
PreS-Gr 2—Out in the forest, it's once again time for the Best Bear in the Wood contest. Fred, a grizzly with a three-year winning streak, excels in all of the events—fish catching, hula-hooping, and scaring humans. His terrific GRRRRR of a growl, however, is gold medal plus. Fred trains hard, wins, and has a wall full of medals to show for it. But this year, Fred has some competition from a newcomer, Boris, who sports a mustache and glasses on his large blue frame. His GRRRRR is reportedly the loudest ever. But he seems rather sneaky and has been seen around Fred's cave at night. Soon it's the morning of the contest, and there is trouble for Fred. He has lost his roar. Luckily, his animal friends—Owl, Raccoon, Eagle, Beaver, and others—join the search for it. Alas, they do not find his roar before the start of the competition. Boris is a worthy opponent, and he and Fred are tied going into the final event of the day. Boris scores a 10, but without a GRRRRR, Fred stands a good chance of losing. So, all his friends line up and produce the loudest GRRRRR for him that they can. They are so loud, it causes Boris to jump, and out of his sweater falls Fred's GRRRRR. A repentant Boris admits that he's new and he just wanted some friends. "I hoped that if people thought I was a winner, then maybe, sometimes, they might come around for dinner." Fred forgives him and suggests that they be friends, and gives Boris—what else?—a bear hug. Biddulph's artwork was created with pencil, digital devices, and software. The nonproportional and cartoonish animals lighten the mood and add to the humor. The overall impression is upbeat.
VERDICT Not the most original concept, and the plot is rather predictable. However, the message in this rhyming tale about friendship and acceptance is sweet and endearing; this title should find an appreciative audience.

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