Written by Suzanne Lang, illustrated by Max Lang

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This book does a fabulous job at labeling a common emotion (like grumpy) and identifying several physical effects of that feeling. Through the book, we see that the monkey is grumpy, and the way his body reacts to that feeling in specific ways. This is so helpful for kids developing emotional intelligence – if they can put a name to a feeling, and recognize their physical symptoms of that feeling to be able to identify when it’s happening, then are able to do something positive about it!

This book is also a great demonstration that it’s okay to feel all emotions! For children to build emotional intelligence, it’s essential for them to understand that all emotions are okay and a normal part of a full life, but that they still have accountability for their actions. In this book, the monkey gets angry at all the other animals and yells at them. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have any consequences for that inappropriate behavior except feeling a little bad afterwards. 

During the reading: 

  • You could move your child’s body and your own to mimic the physical ways in which the other animals recognize that the monkey is grumpy in a silly and fun way. As you do that, it could be beneficial to talk about the way your body reacts when you feel grumpy, or ask your child how their body feels when they’re grumpy. Making those physical and verbal connections as you read can help them to better identify when they’re feeling grumpy in the future!
  • You can talk about how it was okay for the monkey to feel grumpy, but he shouldn’t have yelled at his friends. Point out how you can feel all emotions, but what you do with them is important and you still have to make good choices and be nice to the people around you. Maybe talk about some specific, practical alternatives for your child when they’re feeling grumpy so that they can manage it in a positive way. Help them think of times when they haven’t felt like doing activities with anyone, either, and validate that, because that’s fine! But help them to see a healthy way to deal with that instead of lashing out at friends or family. 
  • Talk about how at the end, it was good that he told the truth and said that he’s feeling grumpy, because when we share how we’re feeling with others, we will be able to feel better soon, just like we see in the last pages. Help your child to see how they shouldn’t hide or lie about their emotions like the monkey does through most of the book, because then you won’t be able to deal with those emotions!

Themes: anger, animals, communication, emotions, friendship, honesty, silly 

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Have you tried any of these ideas? Comment below to share how they worked for your family!