Friday, September 12, 2014

Gruff the Grump - a book review

Quote of the day:

                         "The most wasted of all days is one without laughter."  - e.e. cummings

Featured book of the day:

Title:  Gruff the Grump
Author: Steve Smallman
Illustrator:  Cee Biscoe 
Ages:  12 and under

Let's take a peek inside shall we?

My take on the book:

Since I have discovered Steve Smallman's books I have not found one that I did not love.  This one will surely become a favourite of your child's as you discover Gruff and how kindness and perseverance literally changed his life.

"Gruff was a bear.
A great big bear.
A great big, scowly, grisly grump of a bear."

Now that is not the kind of guy you would want to hang around with or befriend right?  The other animals of the forest stayed clear of him with his unapproachable temperament and manners.  No way they want to be around him....he's big and scary.

Then one morning Gruff discovers a little rabbit hanging upside down on a tree branch.   She is stranded and needs a helping hand.  She has been rescuing "fallen stars" (which now seems to be her mission in life) and finds herself in a very peculiar and perhaps dangerous situation....she cannot get down from the tree by herself.  She calls out to Gruff to please help since he is big and strong and can surely save her from her plight.  Gruff is reluctant at a first, but finally relents and gently removes her from the branch.  She is so grateful for his kindness that she gives him her coveted fallen star, which at first Gruff refuses, but finally concedes and takes it home and places it on his mantel.  

The little rabbit keeps turning up in Gruff's life and giving him more gifts of rescued stars and each time they have an encounter Gruff's hard heart melts a little more and his gruffness little by little subsides.  He even cleans up his bear cave which had long been neglected and he sweeps out the cobwebs and pine needles so his star trophies can have a special place on his mantle and in his heart.  The two become fast friends as they play and laugh (yes laugh) and enjoy each other's company.  Two unlikely creatures....bonded together by kindness and companionship.  The little rabbit manages to clear the cobwebs and clutter that had been stifling Gruff's heart and by not giving up on him, showing him kindness and that he is needed and important .... makes the best fallen rescue of all...his heart.  I loved the book!  The illustrations are perfect. They are warm and engaging and the facial features of the animals bring them to life.  Highly, highly recommended.

About the author:

Steve Smallman was born in Cambridgeshire. He has been illustrating books for children for over 25 years and has recently become an author too. He has written THE LAMB WHO CAME FOR DINNER and BUMBLETUM for Little Tiger Press. Jack Tickle likes painting in acrylic because when he spills coffee and food on his pictures he can wipe them clean again! He likes to eat chocolate biscuits while he paints and listens to loud guitar music. Mr Tickle lives in South West England with his family and a large biscuit barrel.

Book Review Rating:  9 (close to perfection!)

Read on and read always!  Have a great "gruffness"  day everyone.

No comments: