cover image Grumpy Monkey

Grumpy Monkey

Suzanne Lang, illus. by Max Lang. Random House, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-553-53786-4

A monkey learns to ride out a wave of emotion in this reassuring picture book about feelings from the creators of Families, Families, Families! After Jim Panzee wakes up on the wrong side of the tree, nothing seems right: “The sun was too bright, the sky was too blue, and the bananas were too sweet.” His neighbor Norman suggests that he may just be grumpy, though Jim insists that’s not the problem. On a walk through the jungle, everyone he meets offers advice for changing his mood: “‘You should sing with us!’/... ‘You should lie in the grass!’/... ‘You should take a bath!’” When he’s had his fill of cheery recommendations, he storms off. It’s not until he re-encounters Norman, who’s now nursing an injury, that Jim realizes they will both “probably feel better soon enough,” and that he just needs to be grumpy for a while. Lang nimbly creates an animal cast with expressive cartoonish eyes and exaggerated facial expressions, which make their antics in the playful text all the more humorous. Ages 4–8. (May)