In author/illustrator Cranston’s debut picture book, an irritable infant grows out of his unhappy ways.
When blond-haired, blue-eyed Grumpy Baby is born, his parents can’t understand why he won’t smile. He screams during the day and at night, frowns at the playground, and doesn’t like his toys. He finds peekaboo only momentarily amusing, and bouncing him up and down and making faces does nothing to improve his disposition. Worse still, he refuses to sleep; naptime involves several stroller circuits around the block, songs, and stories. His mom and dad appear progressively more exhausted in the color illustrations, as nothing seems to help him change his attitude. “But then, one day, something magical happened,” one of Cranston’s smooth rhymes begins, and with no explanation, Grumpy Baby suddenly learns to smile. This turn of events accurately reflects real life, as when a baby suddenly gets over colic or another cause of unhappiness. However, young readers may find the sudden change of heart surprising and wonder what “magic” happened behind the scenes. A final note, reminding single-child parents to be grateful that they don’t have twins, makes it clear that this book is primarily intended to entertain parents raising a fussy baby. The bright, cartoonish illustrations feature Grumpy Baby’s comical expressions.
A good choice for bedtime reading with pleasantly rhyming stanzas.