Philip and Erin Ulrich published The Growly Books one by one in 2013. Mama heard about them when they published the first book, Begin; which she bought for me to try out.
It was the first time she had given me a book she did not know a lot about and asked me to tell her if it was any good, and I was a little nervous.
It proved to be a very good book though. It was written for children ages 8 to 12; but I read at least one, maybe both, of the other two books in the series after I turned 13, and still really enjoyed them. There are talking animals, but they are not handled in a very childish way.
Actually, I liked the way Mr. and Mrs. Ulrich handled the talking animals interacting with humans and other kinds of animals better than any other talking-animal-book I have read. Every kind of animal had a language. Two animals of different kinds could communicate only if one or both had learned the other’s language. There was a people-language, a bear-language, a bee-language, etc.
As soon as they set out this morning, Growly knew this was where they were coming. It was the perfect place for a day like today. It was the perfect place for the beginning of an Adventure. (3)
Begin is about a bear cub named Growly. He starts out on a well-planned “Adventure” in the wilderness, at the end of which he will be no longer called a cub, but a Young Bear; only to find himself on a much greater adventure, called out into unknown territory, with no promise he can find a way back home.
There were occasions though when Growly saw her from a distance, looking out the library window toward The Precipice. At those times she had a far off look on her face, and he saw her wiping her eyes. When she noticed him at last though, her smile would return. . . (23)
The bears of the city of Haven live on the edge of The Precipice, and no one knows what is beyond it. Growly’s grandfather had a dear friend named C.J. who was blown over The Precipice in his glider during a storm. No one has seen him sense.
At the beginning of his Adventure, Growly encounters the only creature that the bears know has been with C.J. beneath the clouds at the edge of The Precipice–a bird. Growly cannot understand its language, but the bright, little animal gets it across that C.J. is in great danger.
Driven by the love of his friends and family for this bear he has never met, Growly follows the bird in his own glider over The Precipice into the unknown. . . only to loose his only guide and have to continue his search in this strange new world all alone.
Growly’s determination and dedication was sobering. He makes great sacrifices for someone he has never even met.
He didn’t say anything for quite a while, but the look in his eyes made Growly feel so happy and loved that he couldn’t stop grinning. (3)
Growly does not have any siblings, but his relationship with his parents was wonderful. Strained relationships in families are common in stories, but they bother me. There are also several other characters that do have siblings, and their relationships are great!
There was a bit of romance–okay, kind-of a lot, which surprised me considering it was a kid’s book about animals that wear clothes; but it was all well-handled.
“I. . . I thought there were two guests,” he stammered. “Well hello to you too!” Merridy replied, pretending to be offended. “Who else were you hoping might be here?” . . . Growly felt himself blushing, and he knew Merridy could see it, too. (It’s very difficult to see when a bear blushes, but other bear’s have a way of sensing it.) (24)
Over all I really enjoyed this book, and I could not wait to read the second one (the ending is a bit of a cliff-hanger)! Over all there are three books, and the others are called Widewater (2) and Morning (3). I might do reviews on them too.
“It seems you did something wonderful on your way into the village, Young Bear. There is quite a bit of confusion as to what it was that you did, but everyone seems to agree that it was indeed wonderful. (201)
Now all the rest of you brace yourselves for Ellen to gush about these books. 🙂 Any of the rest of you read them?
P.S. You can read the last post Spencer did about his TeenPact homework here.