Picture Book Pair for Sharing Love and Friendship

  Picture book pair posts are about showing how books with similar themes can open up a world of discussion possibilities, and those discussions are great ways to connect with your children or students. It can be fascinating to see how different authors and illustrators approach different topics and themes. Pairing books with similar themes during story time will help children learn that everyone sees and experiences the world a little differently, and it's good to see other people's perspectives. Today is Valentine’s Day, and that has everyone talking about love! But not just romantic love. The love of friends and family is a big topic too! Yes, this time of year love is a hot topic, but it’s a good topic to read and talk about all year long. So today we’d like to share two lovely books with a theme of love between friends. But love isn’t the only thing these two books have in common. They also both feature bears! In Love is in the Little Things by Stella J. Jones, illustrate


by Mindy Baker

THE GRIZZLED GRIST DOES NOT EXIST, written by Juliette Maclver and illustrated by Sarah Davis, is a rhyming picture book about a class adventure into the wilderness led by a zany teacher. No one listens to the warnings of Liam—they all insist that the Grizzled Grist does not exist. When they walk into a trap, Liam comes to their rescue. I think you will enjoy reading this book aloud with your child, and it is a perfect springboard into a treasure hunt adventure.


  • What are the children doing in the story? 
  • Who is trying to warn them of the dangerous Grizzled Grist?
  • What happens when they don’t listen to Liam’s advice? 
  • Is the Grizzled Grist real or make-believe?
  • Have you ever been on a hiking adventure? What do you think you would see?
  • Have you ever had someone give you good advice that you didn’t listen to? What happened?

DO: Make an Treasure Map and a Grizzled Grist

For the map you will need:
  • Brown paper grocery sack
  • Scissors
  • Markers
  • Hair gel
  • Optional: used tea bags
Directions to make the treasure map:
  1. Cut a brown paper grocery sack into a large rectangle
  2. Crumple and rip edges
  3. Draw your map with markers (use landmarks from your yard or your imagination)
  4. (Optional) Paint your map with a used tea bag. Dry with hair dryer.
  5. Smooth your map with hair gel. Let dry.

For the Grizzled Grist you will need:
  • Yarn
  • Google eyes
  • Glue
  • Small piece of cardboard
Directions to make the Grizzled Grist:
  1. Wrap yarn around a small piece of cardboard.
  2. Tie tightly with a small piece of string.
  3. Flip the cardboard over and snip to create pom pom
  4. Glue on eyes with tacky glue.
  5. Hide the Grizzled Grist and go on a hunt with a strainer to capture him.
  6. Use your map to encourage imagination.

Activity ideas once you have created your map and Grizzled Grist:

1. Once you have the items made, let your imaginations take over. Hide the Grizzled Grist in your house and then use your map and “net” (small strainer or butterfly net) to go and capture him. You can also pack a small backpack for the “trail.”

2. Play a game similar to hide and seek and/or tag. Take turns being the “adventurer” and have the player who is pretending to be the Grizzled Grist capture the other player with a blanket.

3. Surprise your child with a treasure hunt! This requires a bit of prep work, but the end result will be worth it! I have created the clues and locations (download or copy the clues from the graphic onto 3 X 5 cards). These clues can be combined with a simple treasure map that you make depicting your own backyard (follow the directions listed above, only use landmarks from your own backyard).

  1. Make a treasure map of your backyard. (Use the directions above)
  2. Cut your map into 7 puzzle pieces.
  3. Hide one piece with each clue. (Use the clues and directions in the graphic below, if you like)
  4. Kids solve each clue to find the pieces to the map.
  5. Kids put the map puzzle together and follow it to the red X (location in your backyard).
  6. Have a small treat in a "treasure box" for them to enjoy.

If you make a map and/or a grizzled grist, we would love to see it! Share on social media using the hashtag #RDDSummerChallenge.