Books Are Pretty

Monday, January 30, 2006

What Are You So Grumpy About?

When bathtime is over, and the stopper has just been pulled from the drain, my three-year-old has to get his tub-time yahoos out one more time. He gets out of the still-water-filled tub and turns to face it, his tush and legs bright pink from the warm water.

"Did someone leave the toilet seat up and you didn't notice? HEY!!!" and then he splashes headfirst back into the tub, reemerging with his hair slicked down flat on his head and rivulets of water streaming down his face as he looks up at me to see if I've noticed his performance.

I've noticed, but in addition to thinking that yes, indeed, he is cute, I'm also wondering where he picked up that little routine.

A re-reading of Tom Lichtenheld's What Are You So Grumpy About? last week finally clued me in. We'd gone through a period of reading it last year, but I'd had no idea it was that memorably hilarious that he'd be staging scenes from the book a year later.

I know better now. What Are You So Grumpy About? runs down the list of all the things that could make a kid grumpy: Did you stub your toe? Were all your favorite clothes in the wash? Did your brother/sister touch you? Did your gravy touch your peas? Or, worst of the worst: Did somebody make you laugh and you forgot what you were so grumpy about?

Lichtenheld, a free-lance advertising art director, accompanies the text with mixed-media illustrations, bold colors, and a lot of visual humor that children really enjoy. Such as the infamous picture of a toilet bowl with two feet sticking out and a cartoon bubble emanating from the bowl that reads, "HEY!" Comedy gold, I tell you, pure comedy gold that never grows stale no matter how many times it's retold.

Lichtenheld lives in Geneva, Illinois, about 25 minutes from my house. I'm going to make him come over every night from now on and mop up the water from my bathroom floor.

What Are You So Grumpy About?
by Tom Lichtenheld
Little, Brown
Ages 3-6
Kirkus Starred Review

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