book review

Grump Groan Growl by Bell Hooks and Chris Raschka

Cover Image

Oh my, the child in this book is surely in a BAD MOOD.  In this obvious homage to the classic “Where the Wild Things Are”, a child must deal with a “bad mood on the prowl”, an emotion portrayed as a non-frightening, Sendak-like monster.  By both admitting (“grump/groan/growl/all I am is WILD”) and accepting (“can’t flee/can’t go away”) the anger, the child eventually calms that beastly feeling, and can “just let it slide”.   Many young readers may benefit from watching the child in this book consciously work to control those angry emotions that everyone feels from time to time.  Bold, eloquent illustrations tell as much of this story as the words do, with thick black lines and bold splashes of watercolors mirroring the strong emotions of the child.  Observant young readers will notice that the curly hair of the monster echoes that of the child, and the blue slashing line used for the monster’s mouth is also used for the mouth of the child when yelling the grump/groan/growl refrain.  Hopefully this will lead readers to the conclusion that the monster is not real, but instead represents the child’s angry feelings.   Most powerfully of all, the illustrations express the conquering of the child’s anger at the end of the story by showing the monster boxed up and napping beneath the seated and relaxed child.  Even readers in a good mood will have fun chanting “Grump/Groan/Growl”, and this alliteration can help develop your child’s phonological awareness, which is important in the development of early literacy skills.  So be sure to check out this strikingly dynamic book.

Lane Library info here


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