GRRRRR! by Rob Biddulph at the Bradford Literature Festival

During a visit to the Bradford Literature Festival we were treated to a reading of GRRRRR! by the author himself, Rob Biddulph.


Published by Harper Collins, this is the story of Fred, the best bear in the wood. For three years in a row Fred has won the contest to claim this title. When it comes to all those bear skills Fred is truly the champion of them all; catching fish, scaring humans, hula hooping and of course, GRRRRRRRRing! Being the best bear is a full time job for Fred, there’s no time for friends as training and trophies are his whole life.

Shortly before this year’s contest a new bear arrives in the woods. Boris. He’s determined to win and makes a mysterious trip to Fred’s cave in the middle of the night. On the morning of the contest disaster has strikes for Fred when he wakes up to find he’s lost his GRRRRR.

Fred, along with a helpful gang of forest dwellers, search everywhere for the roar but it’s nowhere to be found. Can these new found friends help Fred to win the contest? And just what has Boris been up to?

Rob Biddulph’s illustrations are sublime, packed full of colour, character and detail. The whole book is a visual delight from the layouts, which change between full page spreads and comic book style squares, to the incredibly skillful examples of typography. We love the small details in the pictures, one of our favourites is the developing love story between a pair of rabbits that runs through the book.

We were so excited to hear that Rob Biddulph was reading this book at the Bradford Literature Festival so we ordered our tickets and made a day trip to Bradford. The programme for the festival was packed with a diverse mix of events and something for everyone of all ages. There was so much happening and there was a real buzz to the whole city.

The pop-up bookshop and event tents in the centre of Bradford

This event was hosted in the truly amazing Wool Exchange building, the home of Bradford Waterstones. An absolutely stunning bookshop and definitely worth a visit.

Being read a book by the author is always special and Rob read GRRRRR! as well as his first picture book, Blown Away. We even got to watch the master in action as Rob drew the characters from the books. It was amazing to watch them come to life before our eyes.


Now, in the contest for best bear, the growl is measured by a very sophisticated piece of equipment called the Growl-o-meter and luckily Rob brought this along so we could test out our own growls. The children would certainly give Fred and Boris a run for their money as their growls pushed the needle right off the scale!


Many thanks to Bradford Literature Festival for putting on such a brilliant event and of course to Rob Biddulph for entertaining us all. My boys treasure their signed copy of GRRRRR! especially as Rob spent the time to write each child’s name with intricate detail and draw a picture of a Fred or Eugene the owl waving hello. My four-year-old still remembers that Rob told him every time he opens this book Fred will wave at him as he’ll be happy that he’s chosen to read it. It’s true as well.

You can find out more about Rob Biddulph’s wonderful picture books on his website here.

You can view the programme for this year’s Bradford Literature Festival here, we’re looking forward to joining in the fun again.


14 thoughts on “GRRRRR! by Rob Biddulph at the Bradford Literature Festival

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  1. This sounds fantastic. It’s always a great experience to meet the author and hear them read the books themselves and maybe do a few live illustrations. We have Cheltenham Literature Festival near us and we’ve heard two of our favourite authors – Jacqueline Wilson and Liz Pichon – speak and it’s been really inspiring!


  2. Haven’t come across this book but we read some of his others when the boys were younger. And how fab for you getting to see him. We had a similar experience at the Edinburgh book festival a few years back with Julia Donaldson #readwithme


  3. I love events like this. How fantastic that the author drew right in front of you. I wish I could draw. Will have to look out for this book


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