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What the Grizzly Knows Hardcover – October 14, 2008
From School Library Journal
PreS—With an ungainly layout, stumbling meter, and missing transitions, this attempt at a gentle bedtime poem misses the mark. The second-person rhyming text weaves a dream story about child and teddy bear becoming grizzlies, playing through the night, and then turning back into their former selves in time to awaken to a new day. Despite the occasional evocative turn of phrase, there are such dubious constructions as, "The moon's/a saucer full of cream,/you think/as you begin to dream." Poor choices for line breaks, strange punctuation, and the use of a font in which periods and commas are nearly indistinguishable compounds the awkwardness of the text. The illustrations, a combination of monotype, drypoint etching, and watercolor, fare no better. While certain images are lovely and arresting, the child, whose face looks unformed, is more creepy than appealing. Additionally, in some scenes the bears look distinctly cut out, which, rather than giving the pictures depth, simply serves to make them look cobbled together and unfinished. In most of the nature scenes, the animals look realistic, but in certain places the bears have a cartoonish feel, which is jarring against the dreamlike quality of the text and other pictures.—Amy Lilien-Harper, The Ferguson Library, Stamford, CT
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Cuddled asleep with his Teddy, a little boy has a dreamtime journey in which both he and his toy magically transform into real bears. Together, they explore and play in a forest, and Teddy, now a big-but-friendly grizzly, leads the way until sunrise, when the friends return home to their cozy room, sharing a secret. The simple, rhyming text is paired with noteworthy, realistically rendered watercolor art that glows with a dreamlike quality. The soft colors and textures and the varying perspectives expressively portray tender moments—boy and Teddy nestled asleep—as well as playful ones, as in a scene of hide-and-seek among the trees. Children will enjoy spotting the subtle details, such as the button that pops from Teddy’s nose when he grows and then appears on the bed next to the sleeping pair in morning. An engaging fantasy that depicts beloved toys as childhood comforts and companions in special, shared adventures. Preschool-Kindergarten. --Shelle Rosenfeld