Grumpy Monkey by Suzanne Lang
by Miss Adena at Lexington Branch
I’ll be honest… I don’t always have the time to completely read through every new book that comes across my desk. But when I saw the cover of Grumpy Monkey by Suzanne Lang, which was published in May 2018, I knew I had to give this one a closer look. When I read that the main character is a chimpanzee named Jim Panzee—get it? Ha!—I was hooked.
Jim wakes up, not quite feeling like his normal self. But he’s not sure why. His friend, Norman, suggests to Jim that he might be grumpy. “I’m not grumpy!” Jim insists throughout the picture book. As the pair walk along in the jungle, characters offer Jim some ideas that might make him happy again:
“You should sing with us!” said the birds.
“You should swing with us!” said the monkeys.
“You should lie in the grass!
“You should stomp your feet!
Jim continues to deny how he is feeling and eventually shouts at his friends. He storms off so he can be alone, and that’s when he realizes that he actually is grumpy. That, and the fact that he got mad at his friends, makes him also feel sad. Then Norman comes along again. Having needles stuck in him from having danced with Porcupine, Norman didn’t feel very well either. The two sit in a tree together and talk, and they both start to feel better.
Jim’s friends are just trying to help him throughout the book. But if you’ve ever been grumpy (I know I have), then you know that sometimes nothing can make you happy. Sometimes, you just need to feel grumpy. And I love that this picture book addresses that. I also mentioned at the beginning that the cover drew me in. The illustrations by Max Lang are perfect—particularly the expressions on all of the animals’ faces.
Grumpy Monkey is definitely one of my favorite books from last year!
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