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ALWAYS SO GRUMPY by Erin Guendelsberger


by Erin Guendelsberger ; illustrated by AndoTwin

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2020
ISBN: 978-1-7282-1620-1
Publisher: Sourcebooks Wonderland

A surly, big-eyed hedgehog is having a bad day, and it’s up to readers to cheer them up.

The prickly hedgehog opens with the warning: “I am grumpy. I am crabby. I am not having a good day.” The hedgehog then suggests that readers tell a joke or make a silly noise, which elicits a smirk from the hedgehog but doesn’t work to chase away the sour mood. Each double-page spread includes a new demand that is generally unrelated to the previous one and, predictably, can’t improve their temper. Switching back and forth between actions that readers take independently of the book, like making a funny noise, or things readers should perform on the book, like shaking it, lends an inconsistent and awkward feel to the progression of the story. The interactive elements lack the engagement and cohesion of Hervé Tullet’s Press Here (2011) and other books in this style, reading like half-hearted suggestions from a character with no clear motivation other than being grouchy. The hedgehog finally requests a hug and an “I love you,” which seems to turn the bad mood around. The hedgehog exclaims, “Thanks for sticking with me, even when I wasn’t very much fun to be around.” This reminds readers that we all have bad days, but it might not be enough to make this book a pleasant experience.

Grumpy animals are sometimes better left alone.

(Picture book. 3-6)