A rhymed warning about the hazards of holding on to a snit.
Lamb, a pop songwriter, describes the titular island in stilted verse: “The Island of Grump / is a far away place // Where no one is happy / Not one smile per face.” He warns that it’s hard to get off (because “the sea will scowl / and the sky will pout”), fun and friends are just memories at best, and lingering will result in being crowned a king “on a stump,” ruling all alone. But partway through he reveals that he really has anger rather than grouchiness in mind, which Buckner inscrutably betokens with two toys, one broken, in the accompanying picture. In the digitally slick and unsubtle illustrations, a scowling lad with light skin rows his way to an island populated by frowning figures that resemble crosses between robots and tiki gods. There, he visualizes friends (one with very dark skin and hair) searching for him in vain and ends up clad in robe and crown, staring out to sea. A crabby-looking crab can also be spotted on most pages. The lack of emotional resolution (not to mention the writing) leaves this cautionary opus looking superficial next to the more therapeutic likes of Where the Wild Things Are or Hiawyn Oram and Satoshi Kitamura’s Angry Arthur (1982).
Keep rowing: there are islands aplenty with more to offer. (Picture book. 6-8)