Begin: Meet Growly Bear


If there’s one thing homeschoolers know well, it’s books. We take pride in our growing, cluttered shelves–our stacks here, there and everywhere. And when we find a new one that our kids take to heart, when we see them happily sprawled across their bed with a book in hand, we feel like perhaps we’re doing at least one thing right.

book buttonBest of all is when we stumble upon a character that becomes part of the family and journeys along with us, and today I’d like to introduce you to one: Growly Bear.

Growly, his family, and his neighborhood are the brainchildren of Phil and Erin Ulrich–work-at-home, homeschooling parents. Erin designs and produces websites and ebooks, and I’ve worked with her personally on several projects.

Now she and Phil have ventured into the world of fiction with their first book in a series all about Growly, called Begin.

About the book:

Growly 3D Book Medium“For centuries the bears of Haven have lived quiet lives, high in the mountains at the edge of the great Precipice. That all changes for a young cub named Growly when he receives a mysterious message. With just his backpack and glider, Growly sets out on a desperate journey to find his grandfather’s long lost friend . . . and to find a way back home.

Begin is the first book in The Growly Books series. Written for the 8-12 year old reading level, Begin is also a captivating read aloud for younger children and will appeal to anyone who appreciates stories of adventure and friendship.”

Erin offered me a copy of Begin for review, and I read it myself first. When I finished I passed it on to Jonathan (age 8), who tore through it in one evening. The next morning I overheard him excitedly telling his brother Elijah all about Growly and his first journey.

Besides being a good story, I also love the character qualities that Growly Bear displays–on more than one instance he sacrifices his own convenience and even safety in order to help someone else. I am always on the hunt for books that inspire the character development I’m hoping to teach my little people.

Buy the Book

Begin is available as a print book in paperback for $7.99. Each copy includes some cool freebies: a three song download from the Here We Go CD (read more here), a bookmark, and a postcard. (Orders are currently shipping within one to two business days.)

The Kindle version is also available on Amazon for $4.99.



This giveaway has ended; thanks for your interest!

One Simple Homeschool reader will win an adorable 8×10 color print from the book! (Aren’t these gorgeous?! Annie Barnett of Be Small Studios created the sweet illustrations that accompany Growly’s story.)

To be entered to win, simply follow the instructions in the widget below: (If you’re reading this via email, click over to the main post to leave your comment.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This giveaway has ended. Head here to buy your copy of Begin and claim your freebies.

About Jamie Martin

Jamie is a mama to three cute kids born on three different continents. She serves as editor of Simple Homeschool, and blogs about mindful parenting at Steady Mom. Jamie is also the author of two books: Steady Days and Mindset for Moms.


  1. Sounds delightful! Thanks for the chance to win!

  2. My six year old has loved Amazons and Swallows

  3. Lauren Hunt says:

    This book looks wonderful! My 10-year-old stepson loves Enid Blyton’s stories, particularly The Faraway Tree, and a book series called Specky Magee, which tells the story of a boy who plays Australian Rules Football. My eight-year-old stepson is really enjoying his dad reading him Roald Dahl’s books. His laughs echoed through the house constantly while reading The BFG. Our two-year-old daughters love Winnie the Pooh, Beatrix Potter’s stories, Julie Donaldson’s books, and pretty well anything at all with beautiful pictures of animals. We’re heading into winter in Australia, so we have been doing lots of reading in front of the fire lately. I’m enjoying it even more than they are.

  4. This looks so sweet–it sounds perfect for my little guy. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Thank you for letting us know about this book and for the chance to win!

  6. Bridget Stevens says:

    My two readers, 7.5 and 6 read (or are reading in the 6 year old’s case) the entire wizard of oz series. They devoured them.

  7. I would love to read this to my boy! And those prints are beautiful!
    Johanna Hanson’s latest post: how I learned to be excited about a child’s play

  8. Thank you for this chance!!

  9. That looks wonderful. Thank you for sharing about the book and the chance to win.

  10. Kate O. says:

    My children are 5 and almost 7. We recently started reading the Mrs. Piggle Wiggle books and Winne-the-Pooh. My children love them both! This book looks very sweet and I love the illustrations. Thank you!

  11. Pamela R says:

    My kiddos are 3, 7, 11 and it’s not easy to find a series that they really like. The Little House stories have been a big winner and we just found, in our local little free library, The Children of Green Knowe series. It seems like they might be winners as well.

  12. Christy says:

    I love the look of this book!

  13. So excited! I love the art of Be Small Studios who did the illustrations! Excited to read the book!

  14. I am so excited to get this book for our 3.5 year old son that I ordered it while riding in the car with my husband! He loves adventures and bears and chapter books, so I’m crazy excited about this one.

  15. Lauren Espenkotter says:

    Two girls ages 3 and 6. My 6 year LOVED the new Annie Barrows book, The Magic Half!

  16. My kiddos are 3, 5, and 7. My eldest is in love with Emily Bearn’s TumTum and Nutmeg, and my 5yo enjoyed My Father’s Dragon. :) This book looks so cute!

  17. Amanda B. says:

    My kids are 2.5 and 4 and they love their Dr. Seuss lately

  18. Crystal says:

    My little one is 15 months – and we love so many books! Lily’s Life, Soul Friends, Nuf. Can’t wait to read Growly Bear!

  19. 8, 6, and 3. We have just finished the Melendy children series, by Elizabeth Enright. Even though it’s far about their age level, we all loved them.

  20. meredith h says:

    My 9 year old has devoured the Little House series, The Anne of Green Gables series, the Boxcar Children, The American Girl series, and some of the twaddle series from the library. The key is to find good stuff for my six year old son. I need good characters for boys! Suggestions?

  21. I have two kids – 3yo and 3 mth and we enjoy different books, the last very popular here is The Carrot Seed.

  22. Simply looks delightful and congratulations to the families putting this together – an exciting project. Anne of Green Gables (L.M. Montgomery), The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate (Jacqueline Kelly), and Toys Go Out series (Emily Jenkins) are currently capturing our imaginations and family chats.

  23. My son is 6 and has started reading the Star Wars book series.

  24. Adrienne says:

    My almost 18mo son decided in the last couple months that he LOVES books. He’s always pulling an adult over to the couch and handing them a book to read. He loves books with birds and also the easier Dr. Seuss books (Hop on Pop, Green Eggs and Ham).
    I’m just thrilled that he’s loving books and honestly a little surprised that he likes the Dr. Seuss… I would have expected Green Eggs and Ham to be a hit later in his life, maybe at 2 or 3. But he picks the books and I’m happy to go with it!

  25. Sounds wonderful, I am always looking for great books and new art for everyone to enjoy :)

  26. My son is 3 and I have a newborn daughter. He LOVES animal stories and I’m sure this would be a true favorite in the future :)

  27. Looks like a sweet little book! My children are 8, 6, 4 and 2…. my children have been enjoying the book, conference of the birds..more for a series, they enjoy the Rainbow Magic, fairy series.

  28. Stephanie says:

    I have a 2 year old daughter and a 5 and 7 year old that I homeschool for a friend. My homeschoolers love to get lost in stories, be it Katy no Pocket or the Magic Treehouse series. My daughter enjoys getting in on the fun with them too :)

  29. This sounds wonderful! And those drawings are precious. Thanks for sharing!

  30. I’m enamored by the images! My littles are 7, 5, 4, and 2, and we’re currently reading/listening to Anne of Green Gables, The Boxcar Children, and The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. I’d be hard pressed to guess their favorite!

  31. Oops, I commented before I saw the question! My kids are 7, 5, and 4. We recently finished the Winnie the Pooh stories and have begun Beatrix Potter’s books. Reading together is one of our favorite things and is one of the things I am looking forward to the most about homeschooling in the fall!

  32. Becki h says:

    I have three little ones who absolutely adore books! This book looks like so much fun! Thank you for the chance to win!

  33. My kids are 4 & 5 (a few weeks away from 6) and they love reading with me. My daughter loves anything Fancy Nancy, Angelina Ballerina, and they both love Elsa Beskow story books. My son loves to listen to me read the Oliver Moon chapter books, too.
    Sarah M
    Sarah M’s latest post: why I think “Call the Midwife” is the best show on tv

  34. My children are ages 6, 8, 10, 14 and 21. We read all kinds of books! Right now my 8 yr old daughter is loving the Ramona and Beezus books.

  35. My son is 5 and he is absolutely loving the Magic Treehouse series right now. :)

  36. My little girl is (almost) 4 and she loves Alice in Wonderland

  37. Hi!!!! What a sweet giveaway. My kids are 8, 7, 3 and 1. We have been reading the classic HEIDI. I t has opened up lots of discussion for learning. I can’t believe we have never had real goat’s milk! Xoxo

  38. My kids are 4 and 7. They both adore Winnie the Pooh and Dr. Seuss books. My oldest also likes Little House on the Prairie and Magic Tree House.

  39. Rochelle G says:

    My children are 6 and 8. My 6 year old loves the Frances books and my 8 year old has recently discovered the Wimpy Kid Books. They both love the Magic Tree house stories.

  40. Iliana is 7 and loves Boxcar Children
    Alexia is 5 and Brianna is 3. They all love Fancy Nancy, the Pinkalicious series, and recently discovered the Beatrix Potter series.

  41. My wee ones are 4, 2, and 7 months (today). My oldest currently enjoys books on CD – she has a series of classic fairy tales and Brave on CD too.

  42. Debbbie says:

    Sounds wonderful! My daughter has discoverd a love of reading this year, so I am always on the lookout for great books!

  43. Heather k M says:

    This book sounds so great. I’m sure my boys would love it!

  44. This looks so great! My son is on the early edge of this window, but is a strong reader.

  45. My littles are 7, 5, 3, and 1, and they love looking through my Atlas of Middle Earth and talking about the various journeys their favorite LoTR characters took. I can’t wait to introduce them to Growly!
    Daniella’s latest post: Fun Friday: Cheesy Breadsticks!

  46. Sara O. says:

    My kids are 5, 7, and 9. They have enjoyed The Boxcar Children, Magic Treehouse, and the LIttle House series. :) The oldest has also loved The Chronicles of Narnia.

  47. My kids are 12yo, 9yo, 7yo, 5yo, 2yo, and 4 wks. Lately, the older ones have been loving the Mistmantle series, and the youngers are into the Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle books. And we’re re-reading the Chronicles of Narnia aloud right now, too!

  48. Sasha Z says:

    How exciting! These look great, marked the page to order from later, but would love to win also. : )

  49. My little one is 5 and she enjoys all types of books right now, mainly read to her. We are doing a lot of the First Reader books and there is this one book called Mac and Cheese that she can’t get enough of. Of course, Dr. Seuss is still a favorite of hers.

  50. Jessica Brammer says:

    6, 4, 3, & 1 – and right now we’re reading Little House.

  51. My boys are 7 and 9. My seven year old is currently reading and re reading the orgami yoda series (along with any thing about Tom Angleberger he can get his hands on, when he isn’t inventing new origami star wars dolls!) My seven year old and I recently well in love with Herbert Wong Yee’s series about Mouse and Mole. And we have been reading them as fast as the library can transfer them in.
    brit’s latest post: Istanbul (Not Constantinople)

  52. I have two boys, 7 and 10 and two girls, 4 and 1.
    My eldest is a super keen reader and is working his way through Arthur Ransome’s Swallows and Amazons (along with a few others;) ).

  53. Mine are 6 and 3. My oldest is reading very well for her age, so it is tough to keep up with her – this sounds like a lovely book for her! While Magic Tree House is a probably beneath her reading level, she only has a handful more to read to complete the series, and she is determined to read them all. She also has read most of the Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle books. I read a couple of the Laura Ingalls Wilder books to her last year, and now she read a couple others on her own. My son ALWAYS chooses Curious George books. (And honestly, I think that monkey is not such a great example!)

  54. Lynette says:

    My kids are 14, 10, 8, 6, 3, and 1. We’ve been reading out loud through the Wolves of WIlloughby Chase series by Joan Aiken for the past few months. It’s hard to wait for them to be available through our interlibrary loan system! As soon as one is done, we immediately want to start the next.

  55. My boys are 15, 13, 11 and 8….they would love to hear this story!!! We have been reading Mrs. Piggle Wiggle lately!
    Martha Artyomenko’s latest post: Enjoying the beautiful weather

  56. My kids are 5 & 8…We have never read these books before, but they look good :)

  57. Tanya W says:

    We have three kids~ 13, 8, and 4 . The 13 year old is currently immersed in the Ga’Hoole series, the 8 year old is reading through the Fudge books and the 4 year old would have me read her every Katie Morag book there was if we had time :) These books look fab~ thanks for featuring them!

  58. Catherine says:

    They are 9, 7 and 7. And they are loving the first Dr. Doolittle book.

  59. Jess E. says:

    Daughters are 4 & 5 and are loving the pony pals series by Jeanne betancourt!

  60. My kids are 5 and 2, the 2 year is still in the stage of tearing books, rather than tearing through books, and the 5 year old likes the the Boxcar Children read to him. We’ve also read This is Our Town and he loves the stories in it.

  61. Maridyth says:

    Son (4.5 yrs) and daughter (23 months) love anything and everything we read them. Son is now working through Little House on the Prairie books. He loves Boxcar Children, and Curious George.
    The drawings for the book are so beautiful! Thanks for introducing us to another great book!

  62. My little boy is 6 years old. Recent reads that we have enjoyed are the Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey, and right now we are reading Rachel Scdoris No End in Sight by Rick Steber. It is a book about a young woman who is a sled dog musher and has raced in the Iditarod.

  63. My kids are 6, 3, and almost 1, and they’ve just discovered the Little House series, thanks to a biography they picked up at the library. :)
    Cynthia’s latest post: Finding the reset moment

  64. My kids are 6 and 3.
    My younger one loves boy and frog series.Older one loves roald Dahl and Enid blyton books.

  65. I like the sounds of this already — it appeals to the kid in me. I will begin my homeschooling journey soon with my 6 year old and I would love this book for him.

  66. I have twin boys who will be 4 in November. They love a good story. We’re reading the Tashi stories and this sounds like a wonderful new adventure.

  67. Eliza G. says:

    My daughter is 10 & although there are only 2 books released in US, Pegasus: The Flame Of Olympus by Kate O’Hearn is her favorite right now.

  68. My kids are 5, 3 and 1 and we’ve just finished reading Charlotte’s Web and are on to the Flat Stanley series. We also enjoy the Jesus Storybook Bible. They LOVE reading!

  69. Kristine says:

    My kids are 10, 8 and 3. I just finished reading the entire Harry Potter series out loud. Not sure what we’re reading next. My 3 year old loves Little Bear.

  70. Stephanie P. says:

    My kids are 8 and 7. They have been enjoying The Magic Tree House series.

  71. My kids are 5M, 3, 6, 8, 11, 13. They are reading a variety of books to match their ages, but some favorites include, Eric Carle anything, If you give a _____ anything, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Nancy Drew and a new series of fairytales retold by Melanie Dickerson.
    Kristy’s latest post: Fluff For Foster Care DELIVERY + Special Announcement!

  72. My girls are 4, 2, and one more to come any day now! My daughter fell in love with reading “The Milly Molly Mandy Storybook” this year and I found two other compilations at our library book sale. I just love these stories!
    Pamela’s latest post: changes

  73. Jean Cox says:

    My son is 11 and daughter is 3. My son started homeschooling this year and, by public school standards, is a bit behind in reading. I cannot seem to find anything that he actually enjoys reading for himself. He has symptoms of Aspergers and is obsessed with his Pooh bear. He is inclined toward things involving bears so these books sound perfect :)

  74. My kids are 7,8, and 9 and were born on 2 different continents. They all still love the Biscuit books the best, even as they grow in their reading skills. Thanks for offering this give-away!

  75. My daughters are 12, 10 and 6 – and they all love to read! Books about animals are a favorite with my younger two. Excited to check this out!
    Renée at NextGen Homeschool
    Renée Gotcher’s latest post: Ask a NextGen Homeschooler: Do You Homeschool During The Summer?

  76. My boy is 6 and he loves tin-tin, Asterix and Obelix, and Elige tu propia historia, books of adventures were you make choices that lead to different ends.
    Nahuatl Vargas’s latest post: Gluten-free chocolate cookies

  77. Crystal says:

    I just order the paper back. Hoping my middle child loves it. I think she will.

  78. My son is 4 years old and he recently seems entranced by the Chronicles of Narnia series. He, however, loves the Winnie-the-Pooh stories and anything by Beatrix Potter.

  79. My kids are 7, 5, 3, and 1. We recently started reading The Hobbit and the oldest 3 are all captivated by it.