Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Parents' Choice Awards : Books : Picture Books
Grizzly Dad: Why Dads Are Great (Even the Grumpy Ones!)

Grizzly Dad: Why Dads Are Great (Even the Grumpy Ones!)

Fall 2009 Picture Books
Ages: 4 - 7 yrs.
Author: Joanna Harrison
ISBN: 978-0-385-75173-5
Hardcover Price: $16.99
In this as-told-by-the-oldest-of three children tale, Dad wakes up in a "grizzly" mood and the day appears to be headed downhill to disaster: the toast burns, the washing machine overflows, and the family dog absconds with breakfast. Then Mom leaves on errands, taking the two young children with her, and Dad returns to bed. End of story? Not quite. "'Dad,' I whispered, but he only grunted. 'Dad!' I said, but he only snuffled. 'DAD!!!' I yelled, and pulled back the bedcovers. But it wasn't Dad in bed at all… It was a GREAT BIG GRIZZLY BEAR!" It's a bit of a one-joke trope: father and son spend the day doing bearish things: going to the movies (they have the place all to themselves); climbing trees in the park (hanging out on the branches); and making honey sandwiches to eat as they watch soccer on TV. And, of course, all is resolved with a "GREAT BIG BEAR HUG!!" Well…almost all: Mom and the young ones return to a heck of a mess. "This place looks like a pigsty!" Mom comments, and one final turn of the page finds father and son with mop and bucket in hand and curly tails peaking out of the back of their pants. Pair this with Mark Teague's Pigsty (Scholastic, 1994) for messy read-aloud fun.
Kristi Elle Jemtegaard   ©2009 Parents' Choice
Kristi Elle Jemtegaard is the Coordinator of Youth Services for the Arlington Public Library system. She has taught courses on children’s and young adult literature at the Catholic University of America and the University of Virginia. She has served on both the Newbery and Caldecott Award Committees of the American Library Association and has chaired the Notable Children’s Recordings Committee and the May Hill Arbuthnot Award Committee. She is a member and past president of the Children’s Book Guild of Washington DC and has chaired the Washington Post–Book Guild Nonfiction Award Committee. She is a founding member of Capitol Choices, an organization of professionals in the field of children’s literature in the greater Washington DC area. She regularly reviews children’s literature and audio productions for a variety of national publications.

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