Today I have a review for a new children’s book that will be released on May 1.
I was graciously contacted by the author and a copy of this book was sent to me for free in exchange for my honest and thoughtful review. All thoughts, opinions, and feels are my own.
The Grumpface begins in a small village that sits beside a dark forest. Dan, the hero of our story is an optimistic, young inventor who suffers the unfortunate trait of being clumsy. Working day and night on his inventions, he hopes that his efforts might gain the attention of Bella, a flower girl whom he secretly admires.
When it comes to his attention that Bella has no more roses to sell, he decides to brave the dark forest in order to find her one. The only problem is that the forest is inhabited by a grumpy creature known as the Grumpface, and this creature is not known for his kindness to lost travelers.
It doesn’t take long before our poor hero is confronted by the Grumpface who quickly challenges the young inventor to three tasks. If he is able to pass even a single challenge, he will be freed, if not, he will remain forever in the forest.
Dan readily accepts the challenges and, having a bag of small inventions with him, tries desperately to put them to good use in each of the challenges. Unfortunately, the more he tries, the more spectacularly he fails. However all is not lost. Each time the clumsy inventor fails the task, the Grumpface struggles more and more to maintain his grumpy composure.
Every parent will be acquainted with their own little ‘grumpface’ now and then. This story stands as a small piece of hope – that no matter how ingrained the grump, there will always remain in every one of us a smile or a laugh just waiting to come out.
For more information:
About the Author:
BCR Fegan is an Australian author who has written a number of fairy tales and fantasies for children and young adults. He is inspired by stories that resonate deeply with our desire for adventure, yearning for magic, and search for meaning.
You can connect with him on his website.
I can really appreciate this story for its homage to classic fairy tales. A cursed villain, the Grumpface, stands in the way of our intrepid hero, Dan, obtaining a rose for his love interest and must accomplish one of three tasks in order to become free. This is a great way to introduce young readers to the structure of a traditional tale; however, while the couplet rhyme scheme (AA/BB/CC…) read well, it began to feel hemmed in by that structure and overly played out. Creating a rhyming story is certainly a way to keep listeners engaged and interested in the story, but often less is more and I think the story would have benefited from this idea.
I enjoyed that Dan was a fairly well developed character with flaws that ultimately unknowingly assisted him in breaking the curse for the Grumpface, but I was surprised at how Belle, the love interest, is relegated to that singular role. She is the object to be desired and won over rather than seen as offering friendship or as a partner to solve the tasks, which could have added a modern approach to the conventional story. The illustrations are bright, appealing, and add a layer of comic relief to Dan’s misadventures. Overall, this was a skillful story with a positive message about perseverance and maintaining a positive attitude.
Many thanks to Bryce Fegan and TaleBlade Press for sending me a copy. It was a pleasure providing a review.