Review: Charlie & Mouse & Grumpy

In this heartwarming sequel to Laurel Snyder’s beginning chapter book Charlie & Mouse, the two brothers enjoy a special visit from their grandpa, Grumpy. Follow along as they discuss being medium, pounce each other, sing the wrong songs, build blanket forts, and more. Paired with effervescent illustrations by Emily Hughes, this touching, funny celebration of imagination and bonding will enchant readers young and old.

While I adored Charlie & Mouse, I think it’s safe to say that I enjoyed Charlie & Mouse & Grumpy even more. Let me warn you, though. If you’re an emotional person like me, and are prone to tearing up, you might want to have a tissue on hand, because this lovely little reader is sure to warm even the most cynical hearts, and will likely bring a little tear to your eye.

Charlie and Mouse’s beloved grandpa, Grumpy (who is anything but), has come to visit, and the three of them share very sweet everyday adventures that are sure to delight young readers (and their grownups, grumpy or otherwise).

As in Charlie & Mouse, the book is broken into several vignettes that can be read separately, but which share a common theme (in this case, Grumpy). In one story, Mouse explains to Grumpy what it means to be “medium”, which is somewhere in between being little and being big. Being medium means being able to swim by yourself, with Mom watching on the steps, just in case. As Grumpy notes, being medium is a pretty special place to be.

Laurel Snyder has an incredible gift for capturing the essence of childhood in a way that is honest and authentic, and which manages to be enchanting without coming across as sugary or overly sappy. It really is something special.

The boys’ close relationship with their loving, patient Grumpy was a bit bittersweet for me – Grumpy was the kind of grandparent I always read about in books or saw on TV, but never had. I grew up far away from my own grandparents and rarely saw them when I was little, and even when I did, they weren’t the kind of adults who would have been comfortable making blanket forts in the living room – that’s simply not the way adults were expected to act. With families increasingly spread out around the world, there are many children growing up far away from their grandparents, and perhaps characters like Grumpy can help fill that void in young readers’ lives.

Emily Hughes’ illustrations once again capture Charlie and Mouse in all their slightly mischievous sweetness.

A final word of advice – if you’ve made it through the majority of Charlie & Mouse & Grumpy without sniffling, don’t consider yourself in the clear just yet, because the final page is a wonderfully emotional doozy – have that tissue ready!

Sweet, gentle, loving and real, Charlie & Mouse & Grumpy is an utterly enchanting winner for readers young and old.

 

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