cover image Grump


Janet S. Wong. Margaret K. McElderry Books, $16 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-689-83485-1

Mommy has reached the end of her rope. She's ""tired and frumpy/ Grouchy chumpy/ Oh, what a grump!"" But Baby, of course, is just getting started, happily ""making gravy/ Applesauce and ketchup gravy"" and dumping it on his head and the floor. Exhausted Mommy declares naptime--but Baby won't cooperate, at least not until Mommy herself drops off to sleep while reading Baby a book. This slice-of-life book should strike a chord with frazzled mothers of toddlers, especially the implacable expression of Wallace's (Tiny Rabbit) Baby and Wong's (Night Garden) repetition of the line ""Baby's going to take a nap now"" three times in a row, as if saying it would only make it so. Toddlers may be too wrapped up in themselves to be charmed by the parental sense of irony that informs the book, but Wallace's delicate watercolor vignettes with their sunny translucency keep the mood upbeat. Ages 2-5. (Mar.)