Title: The Field Guide to the Grumpasaurus
Author/Illustrator: Edward Hemingway
Age Group: 2-6
Synopsis: The Grumpasaurus can be easily identified by his frown, crossed arms, and furrowed brow but this magical creature also has the ability to transform, given the right incentive.
The Low Down:
We have phases. I know everyone has phases but while in the midst of our most recent struggle, to maintain nap time, I was reminded that little kids have just so much that they’re dealing with. Not only are toddlers constantly absorbing and trying to replicate new vocabulary, learning and practicing fine and gross motor skills, but they’re also trying to sort through all these feelings and figure out appropriate ways to express themselves. Phew, that’s a lot of stuff. While sifting through this we have our own occasional Grumpasaurus sighting.
Written as a notes in a ringed notebook, Edward Hemigway’s book is less of a story and more of an explanation. The observations noted can be real, exaggerated, and even funny but the behavior depicted by the Grumpasaurus can still seem somewhat appalling. The poor house pet that attempts to approach is blasted with the bathroom shower head but once placated, Grumpasaurus turns docile and snuggly.
Hemingway does a fabulous job of staying true to his theme while maintaining interest. His Grumpasaurus is constantly accompanied by observant notes and fun little quips that will appeal to kids and adults alike. The illustrations seem to hold all the emotion of a little Grumpasaurus but are ready to transition to be soft and sweet when necessary. Additionally, the black cat (who seems to be the one benefiting the most from this Grumpasaurus knowledge) is so expressive and sweet that you can’t help but cheer and gasp for it as it interacts with such a fearsome beast. In addition the spiral loops on the side continue to give a playful illusion that the book is indeed a field guide and a bit more fantastical than the everyday bookshelf discovery.
It’s easy for me to forget sometimes that little ones have so much to deal with. And as a result an unruly Grumpasaurus can rear it’s head at a moments notice. I find I’m so focused on making sure that my little guy understands and follows the rules that I skip taking the time to understand what’s really going on behind those tears. So while during my first reading of The Field Guide to the Grumpasaurus I was a little annoyed at the parent for giving power to the temper tantrum being thrown, during my second reading, and right after a crying session of our own, I found myself empathizing with all parties involved. There are times to be firm and strict but there are just as many times to show empathy. Both are important lessons that our little ones need to learn as they figure out how to navigate this crazy world called life.
- Read it while your little one is not grumpy and use it to discuss tactics for turning those frowns upside down.
I need more!
Edward Hemingway has a delightful array of titles that I somehow was unaware of! I’m especially looking forward to checking out: Tiny Pie and Mr. Fuzzbuster Knows He’s the Favorite. For more info go to his amazing website: http://edward-hemingway.squarespace.com/books/
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