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What Are You So Grumpy About?    by Tom Lichtenheld order for
What Are You So Grumpy About?
by Tom Lichtenheld
Order:  USA  Can
Little, Brown & Co., 2003 (2003)
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

This picture book exudes grumpiness from its pores! A little bluebird on the cover asks a lower-lip-thrust-out, red-faced boy the title question, and elaborates on it inside, going though all kinds of things that can make a small (or large) person grumpy. It's brilliantly done, in a manner that soon begins to be humorous and quickly segues into hilarious, so that you have to chuckle, giggle and finally laugh out loud at it.

The font is big and edgy, the colors strong and the details catchy and bold. From the beginning, 'Did you get up on the wrong side of bed?' to the end 'Did somebody make you laugh when you were trying to be grumpy? ... And you forgot what you were so grumpy about?', this picture book reflects the grumpy child's point of view and then finds ways to make it amusing. The page where mom and dad forgot to buy the favorite cereal, 'chocolate frosted honey-glazed pre-sweetened marshmallow nodules', and the poor kid had to eat grown up healthy stuff instead, is delightful.

Then there's the detail in the little girl's chore list, like 'Clean dog snot off patio door', enough to make anyone grumpy. But my favorite of all of them is 'Did your gravy touch your peas?', which shows a crowd of panicking peas about to be overwhelmed by gravy lava. There's even a back cover depiction of all the many ways to tell that you're grumpy. If there's grumpiness in your life, you really should rush to acquire this remarkable book to giggle it all away.

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