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What Are You So Grumpy About?


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About the Author

Tom Lichtenheld is an art director at Cramer-Krasselt, an international advertising agency. This is his second book.


In this light, playful caper, Lichtenheld (Everything I Know About Pirates) follows up the title's query with a series of others that pose possible causes for the characters' irritable affect. Each outlandish, humorously exaggerated illustration, outlined in thick black strokes to emphasize the cartoonish scenarios, make the case for the victims' foul mood. For "Did somebody leave the toilet seat up and you didn't notice?" the accompanying two spreads depict two feet sticking up from inside the toilet bowl, followed by the resulting shrunken outfit the boy wears. "Did your gravy touch your peas?" shows terrified animated peas awash in a wave of gravy on a dinner plate, screaming "Flood!" and "Every pea for himself!" Other indignities that warrant grumpiness include parents forgetting to buy a child's favorite cereal ("Chocolate-frosted, Honey glazed, Pre-sweetened Marshmallow Nodules"), forcing him or her to eat the parents' "Boring Acres" ("No fat,... no sugar,... no fun" reads the cereal box); and a list of "about a million" chores, among them training the cat to fetch the paper and counting the leaves on trees. Lichtenheld's tale will appeal to kids with its on-target childhood humiliations and degradations. And parents may be pleased to see the way it takes the edge off most cases of discontent-especially with its gentle punchline. All ages. (Apr.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Gr 1-4-From the endpapers touting the "Sure Cures for Grumpiness" to the zany situations pictured throughout the text, Lichtenheld's full-color spreads show the many possible causes of grumpiness in a child's world. The range is wide, from stubbing a toe or having to eat "grown-up" cereal to having to cope with gravy that touched the peas on the dinner plate. Humor is everywhere, and the author clearly knows the types of traumas that can turn a child's mood sour. Of course, the tale has a happy ending-someone making the sourpuss laugh and thereby forgetting the reason for the grumpiness entirely. Side comments add to the fun ("Oh Poop," says one child when he gets underwear in a birthday package). Another page talks about the "dangers" of a big hug from Grandma and shows a newspaper story with a big-bosomed blonde granny and an arrow pointing to her rather-endowed chest, claiming that her grandson was "last seen here." Kids are sure to snicker with glee, feeling that they are getting away with seeing/hearing something a bit risqu. Lichtenheld is right on the mark, and his tale is sure to provoke smiles of recognition and delighted laughter from any youngster who has suffered from the "childhood grumpies."-Nancy Menaldi-Scanlan, LaSalle Academy, Providence, RI Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

"Guaranteed to remove every pout in sight...replete with jokes both visual and verbal, each picture will elicit roars of laughter--and rueful recognition."--Kirkus (starred review)
"Hilarious...sure to cure the grumpiest reader..."--Child Magazine
"Lichtenheld's tale will appeal to kids with its on-target childhood humiliations and degradations."--Publishers Weekly
A Child Magazine Best Children's Book of the Year

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