Thursday, January 26, 2012
In “My Bear Griz,” the first book written and illustrated by Suzanne McGinness, a young boy wearing a paper crown declares, “My name is Billy and I love bears” in immense text that mirrors the size of Griz, a grizzly, of course, and the bear he loves best. He goes on to describe the ins and outs of their friendship –- they like to eat peanut butter and honey sandwiches, snuggle up for naps and stargaze in tandem. The sequence feels like a warmhearted coda to Jez Alborough’s “Eddy and the Bear” series.
There is no story here to speak of, but it’s a sweet portrait of an imaginary friendship. The book’s strength is the illustration, which combines a scratchy, colorful Paul Galdone-like bear along with mixed media images: the boy with a collaged hat, intervals of childish penciled handwriting, watercolor washes and pen-and-ink drawings.