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Saturday, September 23, 2017

Charlie & Mouse & Grumpy, written by Laurel Snyder and illustrated by Emily Hughes. Chronicle, Raincoast. 2017. $20.99 ages 7 and up

""When you are medium," said Mouse,
"you can read some books. But also, people
read books to you."
"What else?" asked Grumpy.
Mouse thought again.
"When you are medium, you can swim.
But your mom sits on the steps and watches."

My kids were lucky to live in the same city as their grandparents. In order to keep them straight, they were called Granny and Grandpa, and Nan and Grumpy. People would often look askance if they heard our conversations with Grumpy, who was never that way!

When I saw Laurel Snyder's second story about Charlie and Mouse, I was thrilled that they also called their grandfather Grumpy. My dad died many years ago, and my granddaughters only have the stories we share with them to help them know the wonderful man he was. Grumpy is an unusual name for them at this point. Having this book, they will learn about another Grumpy and how similar he is to their great-grandfather.

Charlie and Mouse are thrilled to welcome him for a surprise visit. Grumpy's dry humor and full attention is much appreciated, as he spends his days with his ever-growing grandsons. There are four short chapters, each describing a single episode: Medium, Pouncing, Songs, and Good-bye.

When Grumpy notes that Charlie is getting 'big', Mouse reminds him that Mouse is not. Grumpy is reassuring.

 “You are bigger than you were. You are not getting small.”

Mouse agrees that he is 'getting medium'. On they go to new discoveries and adventure. Pouncing on Grumpy while sleeping is the plan; Grumpy is already awake, drinking coffee. Blast! There's no catching him early in the morning. But, later in the day might provide opportunity. While babysitting, Grumpy proposes food, entertainment, ideas for fun. A good night song reveals Grumpy's terrible singing voice, no matter the chosen song. Charlie takes over. Finally, when the time comes to say good-bye, the boys are extremely sad. That is as it should be!

Charming, warm, and perfect for early readers. The illustrations have a comfortable, familiar and affectionate feel. I will look forward to future editions.

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