Grumbug! by Adam Stower

posted in: Adam Stower | 2

When you’re already giggling just eleven words into a story, you know you’re on to a very good thing.

grumbugAnd so it is with the delicious child- cake-eating-troll-quest to save a lost little sister that is Grumbug! by Adam Stower (@Adam_Stower).

Dolly, blissfully unaware of any danger that might be lurking out there, has wandered off. We have to keep our fingers crossed that she hasn’t ended up at the home of the “biggest, meanest, grumpiest and greenest troll of them all“, the troll which has all others quaking in their boots: GRUMBUG!

Determined to find her, and in the sure belief that anything can be sorted out with a jolly nice slice of cake, big brother Oliver and his old (blue) friend Troll set of to bring her back home.

Grumbug - LayoutsUK5.indd

Oliver seems utterly oblivious to the ominous signs that are all too obvious to us readers and listeners as we follow Dolly’s tracks further and further from safety. And just as the tension has been ratcheted up as far as we can take it… a gloriously theatrical page-turn has us all relishing in the relief, laughing as we realise we’ve been holding our breath.

Grumbug - LayoutsUK5.indd

But then comes a twist in the tale that makes for a particularly enjoyable readaloud (especially if you love a bit of acting it out or making silly voices) before we all find out whether or not cake really can save the day.

Grumbug!‘s encouraging message that bravery and kindness are able to solve all sorts of problems is delivered with bags of humour, in text, in pictures and in the interplay between the two of them, making this a book which remains a delight to read time and time again. (In fact, once you know all the surprises, they become even more enjoyable.) Then there are the little details which might only come to you after several readings; Check the endpapers for clues as to what you could find…

Delightful characterization, an upbeat take on life and – yes – plenty of cake make this a marvellously happy read, despite the looks of anxiety on the book’s front cover. I loved Troll and the Oliver enormously, and this second book with the same characters is a worthy successor. Here’s hoping Oliver and Troll with be back for a third outing to make us giggle and fill us with delight.

Grumbug - LayoutsUK5.indd

As I would so very much enjoy reading this book to a classroom of kids I wanted to come up with an activity which could be replicated fairly easily for 30 or so kids to join in with. I designed a simple mask (ideally to print onto card), which can be customised for either Troll or Grumbug.

You can download the mask (A4, pdf) here.

A bit of paint, some glue, tissuepaper and a few pipecleaners later…

makingmasks

…and here we have Troll…

troll

And here we have GRUMBUG!

grumbugcake3

And here we have Dolly and Oliver and one ENORMOUS cake. Has Grumbug eaten that slice of cake or is he going to gobble up the kids?

grumbugcake2

Whilst making our masks we listened to:

  • Raised By Trolls by Key Wilde & Mr Clarke
  • Grieg’s March of the Trolls
  • Hello Dolly performed by Louis Armstrong

  • Other activities which would go well with reading Grumbug! include:

  • Creating a cafe role play area.
  • Making a chef’s hat
  • Creating your own family or class’s cake recipe book, packed with favourites contributed by everyone. You could even use it to fundraise so you could invite Adam Stower to visit your school!

  • If you liked this post you might like these others of mine:

  • Making animal masks for a ball
  • A wolf mask for a very funny story by former Children’s Laureate Michael Rosen
  • Cat masks and hair bands and a book review in rhyme
  • masksroundup

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    Disclosure: I received a free review copy of this book from the publisher.

    2 Responses

    1. Simone Fraser

      Excellent! Trolls have not had enough attention from picture-books in latter decades. I enjoyed the pictures of the creative activity that followed!

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