31 Days of Amazing Kids' Books

31 Days: Because sometimes we all get a little grumpy.

My younger daughter, Clara, started calling herself a goat a few months back. I can even pinpoint the instant when it hit. She started meowing for no apparent reason, so I (stupidly) asked her if she was a cat. She looked at me like I had three heads and replied, “NO! I a baby GOAT.” We made the mistake of laughing uproariously, and now she refers to herself as a goat. I’m hoping she outgrows it before college, or her roommate might be in trouble. Just in case you’re wondering, she doesn’t really look too much like a goat.Clara with an apple

She does, however, have some stubborn tendencies, so there may be just the slightest resemblance.  I am glad to report, though, that on the whole she has a delightful personality, quite unlike the main character in today’s book: Grumpy Goat, written and illustrated by Brett Helquist.

Grumpy Goat

This is one of those books that the girls grabbed from the library shelf before I really had the chance to take a look at it. When we sat down to read it, I was prepared to read it quickly, hide it in the back of the car, and return it as soon as possible. Instead, I loved it. A lot.

The story is simple and straightforward. There is a very grumpy goat who annoys and harasses all the other animals on the farm. One day, he spots a pretty flower, and sure enough, it cracks open his heart just a little bit. From there, his life turns into a much happier place, which in turn improves the life of everyone around him. The layout of the book, with sweeping farm panoramas on several of the spreads, helps carry the reader through the story. Even though the end is predictable enough, you really find yourself rooting for the goat by the end.

Since we I am prone to bouts of grumpiness, and I fear the girls have inherited the tendency, I’ve used this book to talk about how our moods can make us feel. We also discussed how one person in a family can make everyone else feel grumpy through her actions. While this is certainly not a miraculous book that cured our house of grumpiness once and for all, it has given us a bit of a touchstone for grumpy situations. “Are you a grumpy goat?” I’ll ask, and sometimes that’s enough to bring out a giggle and turn somebody’s mood around. While I haven’t used this in a classroom setting, I can only imagine it would work just as well with a class full of little baby goats.

Stay tuned tomorrow for a great laptime rhyming book and an accompanying recipe! To share more of this month’s book selections, just click on the picture below.

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