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Reviewed by Dacie Dayan for Readers' Favorite
Grumbler, written by Arielle Haughee and illustrated by Marina Veselinovic, is a charming story about love. Grumbler, the nasty, rude main character, is a rotting potato with a broken bowl for a hat. He lives alone inside a trash heap. Animals who live in a nearby forest try to show love to Grumbler but Grumbler hates love. He thinks it feels tingly, itchy and terrible. But the love from the animals settles on different parts of Grumbler’s body. He can’t get rid of the love, so he goes to a pond and throws it at the animals. Then he goes back to the dump and gets in a slimy bathtub until he thinks all the love is gone. Before long, the animals of the forest come to visit him and surround him with more love. What will Grumbler do? Will he ever realize that every time he gives love away, more of it keeps coming back?
Grumbler is a delightful story by Arielle Haughee, and is inspired by Warren Buffett’s quote: “Love is a strange thing. You try to give it away and you get more back.” The author uses great descriptions to show how love makes the nasty Grumbler feel: “tingly, itchy and terrible.” As children hear the story, they will think of how love makes them feel. They will see how miserable and frustrated Grumbler feels when he tries to get rid of love by giving it away. The illustrator, Marina Veselinovic, does a great job of showing Grumbler’s mean eyes turning to kind eyes; his nastiness slowly turning to happiness. She gives the cute forest animals adorable expressions as they share love. A great, meaningful read for kids.