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Growing up Grizzly: The True Story of Baylee and Her Cubs.

Growing up Grizzly: The True Story of Baylee and Her Cubs. Concept and photos by Amy Shapira, text by Douglas H. Chadwick,. 2007. Falcon Publishing. (ISBN 076274149X). 48 pp. Hardcover. $14.95. Ages 4-8.

Growing up Grizzly is the true story of a young grizzly bear, Emmett, in southeastern Alaska. All alone in the wilderness, he is embraced by a grizzly family and is taken in as one of their own. Amy Shapira followed and photographed grizzly bears for six consecutive summers as this story unfolded in front of her in the Alaskan wilderness. Her amazing pictures and text by Douglas Chadwick demonstrates that even a grizzly family can welcome a stranger.

The story begins with Emmett who wanders into a cove he hasn't been known to inhabit before. Emmett at two years old finds he isn't quite ready to live on his own--despite the fact that two-year-old grizzly bears usually live on their own. Emmett follows a mother grizzly bear (one the locals call Baylee) and her three new cubs (Eleanor, Misha, and James) around like a lost puppy dog. He wants to join the family's fun times but every time he gets near the family, Baylee growls at him. One day when Baylee goes salmon-catching for her cubs, Emmett joins the three cubs on shore and nestles in with them. When Baylee comes back with the fish, she gives some to Emmett too and from that day on Emmett is one of the family. When the bears go to their den for the winter Emmett joins them, when the bears wrestle Emmett joins them, and when the family travels among the tall trees and mountainsides Emmett joins them. Emmett becomes Baylee's adopted son and joins in all that the family does.

Douglas Chadwick worked with thousands of photographs to unfold the heartwarming story. Amy Shapira's pictures are quite breathtaking, but the storyline is quite compelling on its own. The story is one you want your kids, nieces, nephews, neighborhood kids, etc., to experience. Chadwick brings Emmett to life for readers of all ages.

A portion of the proceeds from Growing up Grizzly sales are donated to Vital Ground, a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting and restoring North America's grizzly bear populations by conserving wildlife habitat. The organization works with land owners to protect essential habitats--so far a quarter of a million acres have been conserved.

Growing up Grizzly would be a marvelous addition to any early elementary classroom. Students and teachers alike will enjoy the heartwarming story. It would also be welcome because of its multiple uses. Certainly, the book could be used in a science class in units involving animals. Growing up Grizzly also has possibilities to be used in units on family or growing-up.

Kay Marie Pedretti

College Lab Specialist, Biology


Winona State University

Winona, MN
COPYRIGHT 2007 National Association of Biology Teachers
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2007 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Pedretti, Kay Marie
Publication:The American Biology Teacher
Article Type:Book review
Date:Oct 1, 2007
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