Reading/Interest Level: Preschool, Primary
Author: James Sturm, Andrew Arnold, Alexis Frederick-Frost
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Knight and his horse Edward spend their days leaping from the cliffs and diving into the lake in mock flight. But one day, Knight spots a gryphon and sets out to find him. Knight meets the gryphon (whom he dubs Griffy) in the forest, and takes off in real flight for the first time. Pretty soon, Edward finds he’s been replaced as Knight’s best friend by Griffy, since Knight and Griffy now spend all their time flying together. The next day as they are swooping about, Knight urges Griffy to fly as high as he can. But Knight starts to feel sick. He asks Griffy to take him home when they meet another gryphon in the air. Instead of going back to the castle, Griffy starts racing through the sky with the other gryphon. Knight falls off and Edward leaps into the air to save him. Together, they tumble into the lake, where Knight apologizes to Edward. Minutes later, they’re best friends again.
Gryphon’s Aren’t So Great is a delightful cross between a picture book and comic. While the theme of friendship may be extremely common in children’s literature, this book sets itself apart in the telling. The illustrations are energetic and easily understood. The color choices are bright but harmonious, and compliment the implied movement of the pictures. The result is an aesthetically pleasing page that is sure to keep young readers engaged. The characters are simple and relatable, and serve as perfect vehicles for humor. The authors are experienced cartoonists and writers with many other publications about cartooning in their collective history. Young artists will also enjoy this book as a source of inspiration for their own characters and stories. Lastly, the compact, lightweight design of this book makes it ideal for shared story time, since it can be easily held in one hand.