The Grumpface by B C R Fegan and Daniela Frongia
|The Grumpface by B C R Fegan and Daniela Frongia|
|Category: For Sharing|
|Reviewer: Jill Murphy|
|Summary: Sweet and funny picture book with vivid illustrations and clever rhyming text. Emphasises the value of positivity and laughter. B C R Fegan popped into Bookbag Towers to chat to us.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 34||Date: May 2017|
Long ago, in the Forest of Ho, a wizard cursed a miserable old man to become the Grumpface because he would never smile. The Grumpface spends his cursed days capturing hapless travellers and refusing to free them unless they can successfully accomplish one of three tasks he sets them. The tasks are pretty impossible so few captives are ever freed. In the nearby Village of Hay lives Dan. Dan is an inventor with varying degrees of success and he is in love with Bella, a flower seller. Bella sells every kind of flower except for roses as there none to be found. And so, our hero Dan resolves to go into the Forest of Ho and find roses for Bella - then she will love him for sure. Of course, the hapless Dan is captured by Grumpface. The story follows Dan as he unsuccessfully attempts to complete his three tasks, using his inventions as aids. A bird swallows his special lamp, his special light wand works fine but Dan drops his prize.
It's all so funny that even Grumpface laughs. And so, the curse is broken, the captives are freed and Dan is free to find roses and win Bella.
Awww. The Grumpface is a sweet and funny story. The text is told in rhyming couplets and it's easy and fun to read in a way parent and child will be able to repeat together. Parts are dramatic, parts are funny and parts are wonderfully descriptive. Fegan knows how to create impact in this format and some of the text is wonderfully arresting:
So there he remained in the Forest of Ho
Spreading his grump wherever he’d go.
Then instantly darkness. The light had gone out.
He’d dropped the small statue, so he fumbled about.
Instantly darkness - I love that. Also, I want to practise spreading grump. But only for fun!
The illustrations, by Daniele Frongia, are wonderful. The Grumpface is properly grumpy and properly trollish, with green skin, a warty nose, pointy teeth and scruffy clothes. Above all, he has the frowniest frown that you've ever seen. Reading this to a child, I can imagine practising our frowns to see if we too could make them this frowny, and there's no way we'd manage it before bursting out laughing. The colours are bright and rich - the Forest of Ho is beautifully green and there is a fabulous nighttime panel of rich blue with a gleaming silver moon. It's a beautiful background which makes its foreground - two miserable villagers caught in one of the Grumpface's nets - all the more striking.
The Grumpface is a lovely picture book. There's a strong narrative with a beginning, a middle and and end, and it isn't over too soon. The verse scans well, which makes sharing and repeating an easy joy. It's lively and vivid and energetic with scary villain and touches of slapstick ensuring that nobody has any sleepless nights after reading. And its underlying message is a nice one - positivity trumps negativity every time and many of our troubles can be eased with laughter. I would have liked the flower seller, Bella, Dan's love interest, to have had a more active role. It's 2017 and girls aren't objects that boys win through feats of valour. But that's my only criticism of a charming picture book that parents and children will enjoy reading together.
You can read more about B C R Fegan here.
B C R Fegan was kind enough to be interviewed by Bookbag.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Grumpface by B C R Fegan and Daniela Frongia at Amazon.co.uk.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Grumpface by B C R Fegan and Daniela Frongia at Amazon.com.
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