In this sequel to Goodnight, Grizzle Grump! (2015), a huge, brown bear has trouble finding food after emerging from hibernation.
The bear is the last animal to wake up when his squirrel friend knocks on the door of his den to rouse him. The squirrel carries a large, old-fashioned picnic basket and follows the hungry bear as he searches for a “springtime snack.” Using his sense of smell, the bear finds different types of berries, then fish, and then bugs, setting each thematic feast out on a picnic cloth. Each time it’s laid out, he turns away to look for the squirrel, who is always hiding inside the picnic basket, giggling. Mysterious, furry arms reach in from off the edge of the page to steal each feast, and each succeeding page shows a group of bears marching off with the stolen food. The increasingly hungry bear and squirrel sidekick keep searching, and at last they arrive at a surprise banquet arranged by the thieving bears, with the missing food arranged on checked cloths for the group to share. The cartoon-style illustrations in colored pencil have an immediate appeal, with bug-eyed animals, detailed woodsy settings, and enlarged display type describing sound effects (“trample trudge trample trudge”). The brief text is well-paced and punchy, with lots of motion and comical details creating a humorous if not scientifically well-grounded story. (The textual implication that all the animals were hibernating makes this problematic as an extension of science curricula.)
Grizzle Grump and his odd squirrel friend are an unlikely but endearing pair. (Picture book. 4-7)