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Grumpy monkey

First edition.
New York : Random House, [2018]
Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 26 cm
Jim Panzee wakes up in a bad mood one beautiful day, but he keeps denying he is grumpy even as his friends give advice for feeling better.
Added Author:


Call Number
JP Lang

On Order



Jim the chimpanzee is in a terrible mood for no good reason. His friends can't understand it--how can he be in a bad mood when it's SUCH a beautiful day? They encourage him not to hunch, to smile, and to do things that make THEM happy. But Jim can't take all the advice...and has a BIT of a meltdown. Could it be that he just needs a day to feel grumpy?

Suzanne and Max Lang bring hilarity and levity to this very important lesson. This picture book is an excellent case study in the dangers of putting on a happy face and demonstrates to kids that they are allowed to feel their feelings (though they should be careful of hurting others in the process!).

Author Notes

SUZANNE LANG produces, develops and writes children's television. Formerly with Cartoon Network, she is presently the story editor of an animated comedy series for Cake Entertainment and Copa Studios. Suzanne has a BFA in film & television from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts.

MAX LANG is an animation director, storyboard artist, character designer, and illustrator. He codirected the adaptation of The Gruffalo, which was nominated for an Oscar and a BAFTA, as well as the adaptation of the picture book Room on the Broom, which has won numerous awards including the Cristal for Best TV Production at this year's Annecy Animation Festival.

Reviews 4

School Library Journal Review

PreS-K-Monkey Jim Panzee (the different-species name isn't explained) is feeling a bit off, and the other animals can tell. He says he's not grumpy, but they insist that he is, and everyone has an opinion on how to feel better, advice that will teach readers about animal characteristics along the way. "You should sing with us!," say the birds. "You should roll with us!," say the zebras. The peacocks suggest a stroll. It's not until Jim's friend Norman the gorilla empathizes and the buddies settle into the doldrums together that Jim can finally relax. They concur that "It's a wonderful day to be grumpy." Max Lang's bright watercolors of animals doing their thing are winning accompaniments to the narrative's welcome message that it's OK to be down sometimes. VERDICT A welcome companion to Judith Viorst's Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. A solid choice for picture book and SEL collections.-Henrietta Verma, Credo Reference, Jackson Heights, NY © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publisher's Weekly Review

A monkey learns to ride out a wave of emotion in this reassuring picture book about feelings from the creators of Families, Families, Families! After Jim Panzee wakes up on the wrong side of the tree, nothing seems right: "The sun was too bright, the sky was too blue, and the bananas were too sweet." His neighbor Norman suggests that he may just be grumpy, though Jim insists that's not the problem. On a walk through the jungle, everyone he meets offers advice for changing his mood: "'You should sing with us!'/... 'You should lie in the grass!'/... 'You should take a bath!'" When he's had his fill of cheery recommendations, he storms off. It's not until he re-encounters Norman, who's now nursing an injury, that Jim realizes they will both "probably feel better soon enough," and that he just needs to be grumpy for a while. Lang nimbly creates an animal cast with expressive cartoonish eyes and exaggerated facial expressions, which make their antics in the playful text all the more humorous. Ages 4-8. (May) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Kirkus Review

It's a wonderful day in the jungle, so why's Jim Panzee so grumpy?When Jim woke up, nothing was right: "The sun was too bright, the sky was too blue, and bananas were too sweet." Norman the gorilla asks Jim why he's so grumpy, and Jim insists he's not. They meet Marabou, to whom Norman confides that Jim's grumpy. When Jim denies it again, Marabou points out that Jim's shoulders are hunched; Jim stands up. When they meet Lemur, Lemur points out Jim's bunchy eyebrows; Jim unbunches them. When he trips over Snake, Snake points out Jim's frown…so Jim puts on a grimacelike smile. Everyone has suggestions to brighten his mood: dancing, singing, swinging, swimming…but Jim doesn't feel like any of that. He gets so fed up, he yells at his animal friends and stomps off…then he feels sad about yelling. He and Norman (who regrets dancing with that porcupine) finally just have a sit and decide it's a wonderful day to be grumpy--which, of course, makes them both feel a little better. Suzanne Lang's encouragement to sit with your emotions (thus allowing them to pass) is nearly Buddhist in its take, and it will be great bibliotherapy for the crabby, cranky, and cross. Oscar-nominated animator Max Lang's cartoony illustrations lighten the mood without making light of Jim's mood; Jim has comically long arms, and his facial expressions are quite funny.Though Jim may have been grumpy because a chimp's an ape and not a monkey, readers will enjoy and maybe learn from his journey. (Picture book. 4-8)

Booklist Review

According to this message-driven story, unpleasant feelings such as grouchiness are probably just temporary. One day, Jim Panzee the chimp doesn't feel quite right, but when the other animals suggest that he is grumpy, he vehemently denies it. The others (mostly mainland African animals, plus a brown bear and a Madagascan lemur) encourage Jim to join in their happy activities singing, swinging, rolling, swimming, and much more until he loudly affirms that he is not grumpy and storms off. He later realizes he actually is grumpy, and after discussing the situation with his friend Norman the gorilla, who declares, It's a wonderful day to be grumpy, Jim feels better. Crisp illustrations featuring a broad cast of animated, boldly colored animals against white backgrounds (except a bright red page when Jim really loses it) will draw readers into Jim's situation until the reassuring outcome. Although their helpfulness is part of the problem, the animals are enthusiastic, kindhearted souls trying to be good friends. They provide the humor needed to counterbalance Jim's foul mood.--Enos, Randall Copyright 2018 Booklist