Grumpy Monkey by Suzanne Lang seemed to be the “sleeper” book that popped up every place towards the end of last year. It was not a book I really was interested in but needed a break and there before me was the board book. At first, I figured it would be a quick “Monkey is Grumpy. He is now not Grumpy. Yay!” Kind of book. Instead, it is an in-depth book about a chimpanzee named Jim who is having a grumpy day, his friends try to help him not be grumpy and the partly expected-partly not expected ending.
The artwork by Max Lang are interesting. There is detail, there is color, there is everything you need to make a good illustration, but it will not be to everyone’s tastes. There is something about them that is funny and serious at the same time. There is something about them that is realistic and cartoonish at the same time. They are like them or not. I do not see a lot of in between.
The story itself is a modern take on being grumpy. Jim wakes up on a lovely day but is grumpy. Only he denies it as his friends keep pointing out he looks grumpy, but also pointing out ways that might help him not be grumpy. Of course, the number one thing that will make a grumpy person really grumpy is to tell them they look grumpy. And the obvious response of Jim comes about. When another animal comes up looking grumpy, Jim takes a different approach on trying to help.
This book is clever, fun and can be adapted to all ages as you can find it in board book (published in October 2019 and the version I read) or hardcover picture book (which came out in 2018) as well. Plus, October 2019 saw Grumpy Monkey Party Time! come about in the hardcover format.