Book Review: The Grouchies


Author: Debbie Wagenbach
Illustrator: Steve Mack
Interest Level: Ages 4 and Up

From the Book Jacket: Lots of things make kids grouchy. Their sister plays with a favorite toy. They can't finish a puzzle. Or they're just in a bad mood. So what can children do when they get grouchy? How can parents help them deal with bad moods?

The Grouchies does just this. In a fun rhyming story, kids follow a boy through a grouchy day. Through him, kids will learn easy, practical ways to turn their grouchies into smiles and understand how their mood can affect others. 

An extensive Note to Parents further explains the child's experience and provides parents with easy-to-apply tips and tools for helping their kids when a grumpy day comes along.

Why It's On My Bookshelf: I've been reading Calm and Compassionate Children: A Handbook and it made me think of - The Grouchies. The boy in the story has a running tape in his head: "Grouch and grump at everyone you meet throughout the day. Don't be nice to anyone and you will get your way!" Many children struggle with this internal dialogue and it becomes an unhealthy coping mechanism. There is a chapter in Calm and Compassionate Children titled 'High-Mindedness' that really spoke to me and the work I do with children in the area of self talk.

When we think positive thoughts, our feelings become peaceful. When our thoughts are negative, we become edgy, irritable, even angry or agitated. High-mindedness is the practice of focusing our thoughts in a positive direction. Positive thinking aids healing. 
- Calm and Compassionate Children

The Grouchies is a perfect book to help kids turn unhelpful and negative thoughts into high-mindedness. The boy gets rid of his negative feelings by using positive words. I like the concrete way the story is told and I can't wait to integrate it into my lessons. It's going to move more kiddos out of stinkin' thinkin' and into empowerment.

A Link to This Book and Others You Might Find Helpful: 


  1. A wonderful book! Debbie was a classmate way back to elementary school. I was so excited to learn she became an author, and I have shared her book several times with children in my community. Wonderful lessons, fun, kid-friendly story!

  2. I get so many great ideas from your blog that I wanted to share a title I just read. It's called Whimsy's Heavy Things and I think you could use it to help kids with coping with problems that are weighing them down. How to make a problem that seems unmanageable, more manageable.