What the Grizzly Knows
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What the Grizzly Knows

by David Elliott, Max Grafe
     
 
A lyrical bedtime tale of a little boy and his bear is an ode to the magic of dreams — and the transformative power of the imagination.

As a little boy falls peacefully into sleep and starts to dream, his teddy bear grows and growls and pops his button nose to turn into a real grizzly bear. And amazingly, the boy becomes a grizzly bear, too —

Overview

A lyrical bedtime tale of a little boy and his bear is an ode to the magic of dreams — and the transformative power of the imagination.

As a little boy falls peacefully into sleep and starts to dream, his teddy bear grows and growls and pops his button nose to turn into a real grizzly bear. And amazingly, the boy becomes a grizzly bear, too — following his friend to the nighttime forest to hunt and prowl, feast and fish until the morning sun returns. David Elliott's spare, poetic text and Max Grafe's luminous illustrations tell a transfixing bedtime story, gently carrying sleepy listeners into dreamland.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Peg Glisson
Sleepy listeners will be transported to a magical tour of the nighttime forest in this poetic offering. Cuddled in bed with his teddy, a small boy sleepily watches his teddy begin to growl, grow, and pop his button nose, becoming a large grizzly bear who leads the boy outside into the forest. Together they explore ledges and streams as they watch and listen throughout the night. At times playful, the two even have a game of hide and seek before heading back to the house. Grafe's realistic watercolors are softly colored browns, greens, and blues that have texture—the reader's hand will want to touch the teddy's soft curly fur or dip a hand in the stream. The soft colors and words provide a sense of peacefulness and comfort, keeping this from being the least bit scary for young readers. Youngsters will enjoy searching the paintings for details like the button on the sheets or the rabbit coming out at dawn. An inviting entry into a magical realm that combines childhood comfort with adventure. Reviewer: Peg Glisson
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

Kirkus Reviews

In this lyrical nighttime adventure aimed at the pre-K set, a boy holding his teddy bear falls asleep and begins to dream. What begins as a cuddly bedtime story, however, changes into a fantastical journey when the boy's ted turns into a real grizzly, morphing, almost Incredible Hulk–style, into a huge animal with white claws the size of fingers: "Teddy growls as Teddy grows; / Teddy pops his button nose..." Strangely, all this growling and popping does not terrify the boy (though readers might find it a bit scary), and he quickly finds himself transformed as well. The two bears leave the bedroom and enter a mysterious woodland where they feast on bushes, fish in icy streams and explore the night wilderness in all their bear glory. Elliott's spare, poetic writing creates a believably childlike dream world, and Grafe's inky browns, blues and greens match the moody text perfectly. It's so effective that it may well frighten some sensitive kids rather than lulling them to sleep; buy it for the more adventurous types. (Picture book. 4-6)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780763627782
Publisher:
Candlewick Press
Publication date:
10/14/2008
Pages:
32
Product dimensions:
10.00(w) x 11.40(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range:
3 - 7 Years

Meet the Author

David Elliott is the author of several picture books, including ON THE FARM, illustrated by Holly Meade, and the NEW YORK TIMES bestseller AND HERE'S TO YOU!, illustrated by Randy Cecil. David Elliott lives near New London, New Hampshire.

Max Grafe is the illustrator of THE BEARSKINNER, retold by Laura Amy Schlitz; THE WEE CHRISTMAS CABIN OF CARN-NA-WEEN by Ruth Sawyer; OLD COYOTE by Nancy Wood; and EYE OF THE WOLF by Daniel Pennac. Max Grafe lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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