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Friday, June 06, 2008

Grumpy Bird by Jeremy Tankard

grumpy bird jeremy tankard children's book reviewGrumpy Bird
by Jeremy Tankard

I fell in love with the illustration of the bird in this book, and, noting that some days Ana wakes up grumpy, too grumpy to even have her morning coffee juice, I thought it would be nice to read this to her and see what she thinks.

It is a simple story: Bird wakes up grumpy for no apparent reason. He feels too grumpy to eat, play, even to fly. So, he starts walking. He meets various animals on the way. Their cheerful, "Hello Bird!" aggravates him further and he gets progressively ornery... however, thanks to the procession of his friends comically following him, imitating his walking, stopping, standing on one leg and even jumping and flying, Bird forgets all about being grumpy and invites them over for a snack and has a wonderful time.

Author Jeremy Tankard says he drew the grumpy bird for his daughter one day and then the idea for the book just came together.

The illustrations are simple and catchy. The grumpy expression on Bird’s face at the start of the story is precious. The bright, bold colors, simple backgrounds, cartoonish animal figures highlighting their prominent identifying physical characteristic - like big front teeth in beaver, dark circles around eyes for raccoon and such - not to mention the obviously non-grumpy expression these animals sport, certainly seem charming and catchy and serve to draw the children into the story.

Ana took to the book well. While she learnt to say if she is upset, or sad, or angry, or happy around when she turned two, she didn't quite know how to express that she just wanted to be left alone and didn't want to be bothered. Now, thanks to this book, she says, "Amma, I am grumpy" and it gives me the cue to try and cheer her up somehow.

[Aside: Usually, pretending that she is my favorite pizza and kissing her on her tummy and arms and legs and such on the pretext of picking out my favorite toppings from the pizza helps get her out of her nasty mood.]

I liked the fact that while Bird tries his best to stay grumpy, just walking along and (reluctantly) interacting with his friends helps him lose his grumpiness and he ends up having a jolly good time.

I have woken up grumpy many days, even now at my ripe middle age, not knowing how to get rid of it instantly, snapping on and off at people and things, till I felt the cheer creeping back into my system over time. This book legitimizes the emotion and says it can be overcome with ease, rather than condemning grumpiness in toto.

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At 12:15 AM, Blogger B o o said...

I am so buying this book for Ashu. Mornings - shes fine. But wakes up grumpy from her afternoon nap every single day!!! Its frustrating to say the least to bring her back to her cheery mood. Thanks Sheela for this post.


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