Grrrrrowling for a great new read?

When I first got pregnant last May and leading up to my three-month maternity leave, I started compiling lists of books I was going to read while I was home with my new little angel. You know, the world’s first newborn that was going to sleep at night and take 3 long naps during the day, and obviously let me read while I fed her or rocked her. I even brought home a stack of books with me, making a plan for who could pick them up and bring me more.

Yeah, I think we call that new mom disillusionment…

Well, I’m happy to say I read exactly one book in the last three months and it’s the one I’m going to recommend to you. I was really excited to get an email from  long time family friend and artist, Annie Barnett. She asked me if I’d be willing to read and review a children’s book she illustrated. I thought this would motivate me to spend my exactly 15 minutes of free time (usually while my husband helps our daughter get used to eating from a bottle) reading instead of watching marathons of Teen Mom, Real Housewives, and various other reality TV time sucks. It turned out that I was right, I actually kept reading after I put my baby to bed last night because I had to finish the book! That really means something when you are so sleep deprived you look forward to the 6 minute ride to church with your husband so you can take  cat nap!

So, what did I give up my valuable and coveted zzzz’s for? The Growly Books: Begin by Philip and Erin Ulrich and illustrated by family friend, Annie Barnett (Annie’s blog and more of her art work can be seen here    and it’s worth checking out!).

Even my two-month-old loves it:


One of the biggest complaints I get from my patrons is that their children are reading above reading level  but can’t find appropriate books. They can’t seem to find books that appeal to their young reader that will challenge them without introducing content that they aren’t ready for. Well, The Growly Books by the Ulrich’s are the answer!

Here’s what the authors say about the book:

“About the Book:  For centuries the bears of Haven have lived quiet lives, high in the mountains at the edge of the great Precipice. That all changes for a young cub named Growly when he receives a mysterious message. With just his backpack and glider, Growly sets out on a desperate journey to find his grandfather’s long lost friend . . . and to find a way back home. Begin is the first book in The Growly Books series. Written for the 8-12 year old reading level, it is also a captivating read aloud for younger children. The book contains 35 short chapters, along with 16 illustrations.”
Here’s what I say about it:
    The first chronicle in what is expected to be a new series for 8-12 year olds, The Growly Books: Begin, is an exciting and suspenseful tale of Growly Bear and his big adventure. Growly, an adolescent cub on the verge of  “adult bearhood” is gearing up for the customary adventure, a tradition that the bears from Haven have to prepare their young to be full-grown members of their society. In this installment, Growly learns about the customs of his land, dreams of his future with fellow bear Ember, and sets off on a quest that turns out to be very different from what he expects. Instead of going out and exploring, excitement  finds him in the form of a flashy and feisty  little bird, Tully. Tully leads Growly to set off in a different direction to pursue CJ, a friend of Growly’s grandparents, who disappeared before Growly was born. The last anyone saw of CJ he went over the Precipice, a place where no bear has ever returned from. The only word of CJ’s survival comes when Tully visits Merridy, CJ’s childhood flame and the lovable local bear Librarian, and then again, when Tully changes the course of Growly’s adventure.
In this classic bildungsroman, Growly’s travels take him to new lands where he meets new creatures, including his future best friend, Chippy the monkey. Readers will learn all about different animal societies in this imaginary world. Growly takes a personal journey, too, realizing the strength of his customs, the support of his family, the love and comfort of friendship, the power of hope, and the courage that is within him. The twists and turns, the growing love between Ember and Growly, the desire to know what happens to CJ all leave you waiting impatiently for the next installment.
    Begin is full of suspense, with surprises around every corner. It’s a great adventure novel that would definitely appeal to the imagination of young readers and younger listeners. The sweet and whimsical illustrations speak to the nature of the characters and the spirit and tone of this short chapter book. While the reading level of the book is perfect for the 8-12 year-old range, it’s an excellent choice for younger readers who are looking for books above their reading level with safe, fun and interesting content. An excellent choice for a family read-together, with plenty of opportunities for discussion about the choices we make in life and where they lead.
Growly, Chippy, Ember, and the other creatures have great potential to join the ranks of the many beloved book characters we all cherish. Take your family on this adventure with Growly and the rest of his gang!
To find out more about these books go here.
I will definitely be purchasing a copy for my public library, I suggest you do the same!
This entry was published on May 17, 2013 at 5:54 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

3 thoughts on “Grrrrrowling for a great new read?

  1. LOVE seeing you back on here and blogging. I also thought the top of that little head looked familiar… 🙂 Great post, and great review!

  2. Sara, Thanks again for your review! And I’m so glad you got some time to read. I hope there’s lots more rest in the weeks and months to come for all three of you!

  3. Tina on said:

    I didn’t read again until my daughter was about 6. I used to read two to three books a month.

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