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Good Morning, Grumple

by Manon Gauthier (ill.); Victoria Allenby

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Waking up in the morning can be a challenge, but less so if you have someone who knows just the right combination of tickles, songs, and kisses to get you up and out of bed. Good Morning, Grumple is a sweet story about a sleepy fox-like creature – who does not want to get up in the morning – and the patient mother who knows exactly what to do.

Author Victoria Allenby – whose debut picture book, Nat the Cat Can Sleep Like That, won the 2014 Preschool Reads Award – succeeds once again in crafting a charming tale befitting the kindie set. Just as the mother in Good Morning, Grumple tries different tactics to awaken her sleepy-headed child, Allenby incorporates different narrative styles, moving deftly from rhyming couplets to sing-song lyrics to abrupt variances in rhythm that allow for recalibration and reflection. This stylistic change-up is a nice nod to the stop-and-start approach many of us experience when we try to get up in the morning ourselves.

The mixed-media and paper-collage illustrations by four-time Governor General’s Literary Award nominee Manon Gauthier are rustic in appearance, but convey great depths of emotion. The little grumple peeks from behind its hands with a slight smile and looks out into the world with a wistful expression, while the mother’s love for her child is masterfully portrayed through just a few simply drawn lines.

There’s a lot to look at in Good Morning, Grumple. The child-like quality of Gauthier’s work matches the story’s sweet and tender tone, while the gradual increase in text size as the book progresses is a great representation of the experience of waking up and embracing the morning.

Whether readers identify more with the mother, endeared by her child’s sleepy protestations, or the reluctant early riser who needs some extra coaxing, all will be charmed by this cozy take on a familiar situation.