Grandpa Grumpy’s Family is another in a series by Katherine Pebley O’Neal, illustrated by Laura Huliska-Beith. The introductory verse tells all: ”The Lord looks deep down inside every heart.” – 1 Chronicles 28:9. Grandpa Grumpy seems like a miserable grouch, but by the end of the story we realize he’s just a softy wrapped in rough edges.
The day starts with Grandpa Grumpy giving his bacon to Gregory. It’s Gregory’s favorite, but Grandpa says it’s burned. After breakfast, Grandpa fills his pockets with butterscotch candies then takes Gregory and his friends to the zoo. There he gives them all his candies because they’re “too sweet” for him. He also gives the best to each child throughout the day. Annie gets Grandpa’s horse on the carousel because he says it’s “too pink.” Rory gets Grandpa’s ride on the camels because they’re “too bumpy.” Dusty gets Grandpa’s ice cream because it’s “too messy.” And on and on the day goes. After face-painting and a trip to the playground, four happy kids go home with Grandpa Grumpy. That night as he tucks Gregory in bed, Grandpa prays, “Thank You for our day together at the zoo, even though it was too hot, too tiring, too messy, too bumpy, too pink and too smelly for me.” Gregory giggles then thanks God for his Grandpa Grumpy. “I love him so much.” To which Grandpa replies, “Well, now I’ve got too much love. You take some of it.” He wraps Gregory in a big bear hug.
The whimsical illustrations are saturated with vibrant colors and fun details.
What I Like: This reminds me of so many grumpy men I know. I can almost see the twinkle in Grandpa’s eyes as I read this. It’s funny! My kids love it. The illustrations are great, and the message is clear: people aren’t always what they seem. Grandpa offers an entertaining example of sacrifice that stems from love.
What I Dislike: While adults understand Grandpa Grumpy’s complaints are good-hearted, children might find this contradictory to Philippians 4:13 which says “Do everything without complaining or arguing.” I’m not sure preschoolers fully grasp the difference between what Grandpa does and what we tell them not to do. If complaining and whining is a major problem in your house, you may want to employ discretion and additional commentary with this book.
Overall Rating: Very Good.
Publisher Info: Zonderkidz, 2008; ISBN: 9780310709862; Hardback; $12.99
Special Info: See our reviews of other books by this author.