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. 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)

  2. 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;) ).

  3. 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!)

  4. 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.

  5. 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

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

  7. 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!

  8. Catherine says:

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

  9. Jess E. says:

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

  10. 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.

  11. 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!

  12. 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.

  13. 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

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

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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!

  19. 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.

  20. Stephanie P. says:

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

  21. 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!

  22. 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

  23. 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 :)

  24. 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!

  25. 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?

  26. 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

  27. Crystal says:

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

  28. 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.

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