Grumpy Monkey by Suzanne Lang

Grumpy Monkey Image

Last spring, a student I’ve known for years came to talk to me because he was having a bad day. He shared that everyone was trying to make him feel better, but he was just having a bad day and wished that everyone would give him space to have it and then move on.  He said, “Why do kids have to be happy all the time?  Grown-ups have bad days, but it’s like if a kid has a bad day it’s this huge deal and everyone keeps trying to cheer him up… which can make you feel worse!”  That conversation stuck with me, and I wondered if give kids enough space to just have a plain ol’ bad day or do I, too, rush in too quickly?

When I read Grumpy Monkey for the first time, I thought of that child and that conversation and WISHED I had had this book to share when he came to me.  It would have validated his feelings that it’s okay to have a bad day… and also reassured him that yes indeed things would get better on their own without having an overly sweet and stereotypical storybook ending.

But that’s not the only reason why I love Grumpy Monkey… 

Kids (and grown-ups) will laugh at the wit in this story– I mean, c’mon… Monkey’s name is Jim Panzee. 

This would be an awesome mentor text to use during writing to help kids show how subtle actions and postures can reveal how a character is feeling: 

Why are you grumpy, Jim?” asked Maribou. “It’s such a wonderful day.”

“Grumpy! Me? I am not grumpy,” said Jim.

“But look at how you are standing,” Maribou said. 

“It’s true,” said Norman, “You’re all hunched.”

It would also be an excellent book to serve as a mentor text for satisfying endings.  

Grumpy Monkey would also be a super choice to include in an illustration study about feelings expressed through actions and expressions.  

Lastly, it teaches us that it’s okay to have feelings and to give people the space they need to have them.

If you are feeling grumpy today– take a peek at Grumpy Monkey to make you smile… or say no for now and save it for another day… it’s okay to be grumpy about it. 

Books with Kids

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