Picture Book Review: My Dad is a Grizzly Bear

In celebration of Father’s Day across the world, Nigerian author and regular World Kid Lit Contributor Ayo Oyeku reviews My Dad is a Grizzly Bear, written by Swapna Haddow and illustrated by Dapo Adeola (Red Comet Press).

Cover My Dad is a Grizzly Bear

“Shhh.
Beware.
My dad is a grizzly bear.
He has the fuzziest
fur that scratches
and scritches…”

Our cute protagonist lures children into his family, through the lens of his mind. Children are drawn into the relationship he shares with his father, who happens to be a grizzly bear. A grizzly bear!?

The phrase, grizzly bear, was repeated ten times and one, in this remarkable 32-page picture book, piquing children’s curiosity and excitement at the same time. His father has the fuzziest fur, eats all the honey in the house, growls and waves his enormous paws when chasing his children. He does all this, and much more, to the delight of his family.

Dapo Adeola complements Swapna Haddow’s text and imaginations with the vivid and funny illustrations he presents in this appealing book. With good use of colours, sizes and an engaging illustration style, children will surely be stuck to the pages of this book like peas in a pod.

But when I’m scared,
there isn’t anyone else
who can give me the biggest,
warmest,
best ever
BEAR
HUG!

This gorgeous picture book is a perfect choice for readers aged four to eight, but younger children can also connect with the story through the descriptive illustrations and carefully repeated words. In this story, Swapna Haddow describes a remarkable relationship between fathers and their children. It’s a tale about family bonds, happiness and what fathers mean to their children.

Happy Father’s Day!

Swapna Haddow is an award-winning children’s author who lives with her family in New Zealand. Read more about her here.

Dapo Adeola is an award-winning British-Nigerian illustrator and designer who creates characters and images that challenge expectations around race and gender in a fun and upbeat way. Follow him here.

Red Comet Press is a new indie publisher with a growing list of inventive, surprising, touching, and multi-layered books and additional free resouces. Make a Grizzly Bear Mask with Swapna Haddow here.

Ayo Oyeku is a Nigerian author of eight children’s books. Several of his books have received notable awards, including the 2019 Association of Nigerian Authors Prize for Children’s Literature. He loves reading books to children, meeting writers, and speaking on literary panels.