Grumpy Grandpa by Heather Henson, illustrated by Ross MacDonald
A little boy talks about his grandpa who is always grumpy. Every year he and his parents drive to spend two weeks on his grandpa’s farm. The little boy has to be quiet and not disturb his grandpa. He tries to stay out of grandpa’s way so that he isn’t yelled at like the TV or the dog, but it’s not so easy. Every afternoon, after a nap, Grandpa leaves the farm alone. The little boy wonders where he goes. Then the next day, Grandpa takes the boy along. They head to a boat on a pond with fishing poles. Now he has to be really quiet and still. Grumpy Grandpa just keeps getting grumpier. The little boy decides to leave, forgetting he is in a boat. Splash! Now how will Grumpy Grandpa react to being tipped overboard?
So many picture books show grandparents as bread baking, snowy haired saints, but many children have grandparents who don’t naturally bond with young children. The beauty of this picture book is that yes the grandfather is grumpy, but it turns out he has a great sense of humor and remembers being a boy himself. Henson’s text is humorous and allows readers to see that Grandpa isn’t that grumpy even before the young boy understands it.
MacDonald’s illustrations have a vintage feel. Done in watercolor, they evoke picture books from the 50s. This works particularly well with the homey and timeless nature of the story.
As someone who had a rather grumpy grandma, I am happy to see a book that really shows what’s underneath the crusty exterior of some grandparents. Appropriate for ages 4-7.
Reviewed from copy received from publisher.