Roawr! by Barbara Joosse, Jan Jutte |, Hardcover | Barnes & Noble


by Barbara Joosse, Jan Jutte

Little Liam is snuggled in his toasty bed when his slumber is broken by a crack! snap! ROAWR! outside in the woods. Papa is away, and Mama is sleeping soundly. And as everyone knows, Mama is delicious to forest things. It’s up to Liam to protect her, but what can he possibly do against the forest’s wild and dangerous creatures? He’s just a


Little Liam is snuggled in his toasty bed when his slumber is broken by a crack! snap! ROAWR! outside in the woods. Papa is away, and Mama is sleeping soundly. And as everyone knows, Mama is delicious to forest things. It’s up to Liam to protect her, but what can he possibly do against the forest’s wild and dangerous creatures? He’s just a little boy, after all.

Barbara Joosse, author of Please Is a Good Word to Say, teams up with Jan Jutte, one of the Netherlands’ preeminent picture-book artists, to create this highly original picture book that shows that what it really takes to defeat ferocious bears is—a big imagination!

Listen to Barbara Joosse read ROAWR! here.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

It's bedtime, Papa's away, and noises threaten from the forest that opens, Wild Things-style, from the walls of Liam's bedroom. "What could Liam do? He was just a boy (thump thump), too small to fight off forest things." Nonetheless, Liam resolves to defend Mama, who is "snore asleep." Alert readers will notice that the enormous bear-the source of the recurrent "roawr!"-looks suspiciously like Liam's teddy bear, right down to the pirate eye-patch. Many "imagining" stories end when the child's play is revealed as make-believe and the child is jolted back to reality. Joosse (In the Night Garden) lets Liam vanquish the bear and return to bed in his own good time. Dutch artist Jutte's ink, watercolor and acrylic spreads, which recall the work of Crockett Johnson, energize this swashbuckling adventure, from the leafy jungle wallpaper made real to the lumbering, snaggle-toothed bear. Joosse's consistently inventive prose ("One dark and snarly night") builds suspense (as does the repeating "thump thump" of Liam's heartbeat) and is a worthy counterpart for Jutte's artistry-the two share a solid understanding of small boys. Ages 3-5. (Apr.)

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Children's Literature - Candice Ransom
While this book may share elements of Michael Rosen's We're Going on a Bear Hunt and Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are, such comparisons would be unfair. ROAWR! stands on its own fur-slippered feet, as a tribute to a young boy's imagination. Liam is alone in the house with his mother on a "dark and snarly night." Armed with sticks, string, and double-cake, he plans to growl warnings to forest creatures, but his mother tucks him in bed then goes "snore asleep" herself. Worried that his mother may fall pray to Bear, Liam builds a trap. He catches Bear, but Bear is hungry. Liam dashes back and forth, bringing berries and fish. Finally, Bear is full, and Liam is tired after a night of saving his mother from danger. Jutte's illustrations are delightfully ambiguous. From Liam's viewpoint, the forest is the wallpaper and the furniture shrubbery, but when Liam's mother casts a shadow in one scene (her only presence), the room looks normal, especially the stuffed bear with the pirate eye patch. Sharp readers will spot the same eye patch on Bear. Joosse's text is ripe with phrases like "Bear! He rumbled in the hole, slashed moonlight bloody with his claws and bellowed…ROAWR!" Repetitions allow the reader to interact and Jutte's rich double-spreads invite the reader to roam around in Liam's imaginative world. Reviewer: Candice Ransom
School Library Journal

PreS-Gr 1

Liam is described as "just a boy (thump, thump ), too small to fight off forest things." His papa is away and the youngster's imagination is in overdrive. His mama, who is "delicious to forest things," won't let him build a fort, baited with cake, in his bedroom. Worse, she opens the windows wide and falls "snore asleep." A forest grows all around him. Liam hears the snip-snap of twigs and then, "ROAWR!" Though his pulse is thump-thumping, he gathers his supplies-including the cake-and creeps into the wild. He builds a trap and catches a large, angry bear. Since Bear is too big and hungry to stay in a hole, Liam must feed him more before he decides to eat Mama. It's a mammoth undertaking but eventually the sated bear curls into a snoozy ball. And Liam, "a boy so brave and true," returns to his bed and falls fast asleep. This adrenaline-charged romp is, first and foremost, exciting. Jutte's lively cartoon artwork contrasts muted night colors to form powerful images: big sky, big forest, big shadows, big night, big bear, big roar, small boy. One might question whether this is bedtime reading material. And yet, from Liam's rapid-fire ideas and his determined expression and posture, children will have the sense that he is capable of handling the night's dangers. Pair this with Maurice Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are and Mercer Mayer's There's a Nightmare in My Closet (Dial, 1968) for a rousing evening adventure that hopefully leads to peaceful dreams.-Susan Weitz, formerly at Spencer-Van Etten School District, Spencer, NY

Kirkus Reviews
"One dark and snarly night" Liam, whose father is away, attempts to fend off the bear he imagines is threatening his sleeping mother. After she falls "snore asleep," he hears a "ROAWR!" Liam calls for his mom, but she continues snoring, so naturally he packs up a bag containing his shovel, sticks and string and double-cake and heads off on the lookout. As a forest grows around his room, Wild Things-style, Liam manages to trap the bear in a hole and feed it until it falls asleep. It seems Liam enjoys a good bear hunt, and this big grizzly bears a remarkable resemblance to Liam's eyepatch-wearing teddy. As lively and quirky-and crackingly good as a read-aloud-as Liam's adventure is, however, Joosse and Jutte do not navigate the boundary between reality and imagination as masterfully as Sendak did. The ink, watercolor and acrylic illustrations, boldly outlined in cartoon fashion, are full of humor but do not assist enough in visually delineating what's real from what's not. Liam's unconscious is a distinctly more fearful place than Max's, marking this as not for the easily frightened. (Picture book. 4-6)

Product Details

Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
9.44(w) x 11.20(h) x 0.46(d)
Age Range:
6 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Barbara Joosse lives in Wisconsin.
Jan Jutte lives in the Netherlands.

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