Review: The Grumpface by B.C.R. Fegan

The Grumpface is a poetic fairy-tale that tells the story of Dan, an inventor who ventures into a forest looking for a rose. Instead he finds the mysterious Grumpface who threatens to hold him captive unless he passes some difficult challenges. What follows is a humorous adventure that neither Dan nor the Grumpface could have anticipated.

The Grumpface is a tale in the spirit of any grand adventure. It is about a clumsy young inventor’s quest for love and the challenges he must face to find it. It is also a tale of bravery, absurdity and happiness, and the power of these qualities over negativity and sheer grumpiness.

Every parent will be acquainted with their own little ‘grumpface’ now and then. This story stands as a small piece of hope – that no matter how ingrained the grump, there will always remain in every one of us a smile or a laugh just waiting to come out.


Song For This Book: The Old Sow, sung by Rufe Davis
Why? This song popped into my head with the grumpy old many references, so we’re gonna run with it. Plus, kids love this song.


I received a copy of this book from TaleBlade Press in exchange for an honest review.

From the moment I received the email asking to review this book, I knew I had to read it, and not just because I was feeling like a grumpface myself that day. This is pitched as a new sort of fairy tale, and the premise of it just seemed like too much fun, with the Grumpface character, the struggling inventor, and the fairy tale like qualities.

I work with children, and use a lot of books in my music program. If I’ve learned anything from using books in my programs, it is that kids are hard to please. They’ll listen to any old book you read them, but a book had better be good if you want them to come back to it again and again. And I really think that The Grumpface is going to be one of those books that kids ask for over and over. They’ll love the Grumpface character, the adventures, and the funny inventor.

The Good Points of The Grumpface:

The story in this book is great. It’s short, as a children’s book should be, but there is a lot of stuff packed into it. It’s quick paced and fun, but the author doesn’t waste any time on unnecessary details or build up that would drag the story down.

I love how the author keeps the silliness of the story in the book, but doesn’t put any of the characters down for their silly or dumb actions. Dan isn’t the brightest bulb in the bunch, and does some silly things, but he doesn’t really come across like a caricature or have the Grumpface talk down to him, the way some stories do. So many books these days are either overly serious, or mocking towards different characters, and it’s nice to see one that doesn’t.

The illustrations are brilliant throughout the story. They’re brightly coloured, detailed, and definitely going to catch the kids’ attention from the moment they open the book.

I loved the characters in this book. There are only three, but it works perfectly for this book. The love interest is minor, and we don’t get a lot about her. But the Grumpface is a distinctive creature, but still has some hints towards the grumpy people we’ve all met in life. And the inventor’s optimism and determination is fantastic.

The Downsides of The Grumpface:

Some of the lines throughout the book feel awkward, and are tricky to say aloud (at least, for me and my partner). It seemed like some grammatical accuracy was sacrificed to make the rhymes work. It affects the reading, because you have to go back and figure out what the line is trying to say.

Some details between the text and the illustrations were incongruent. The main one was the colour of the girl’s hair. It’s a detail, but kids will pick that up.

This is something that may be just me, but I think it would have been more visually appealing if some of the illustrations spanned two pages, instead of being a unique image on every page. My reader showed two pages at once, like a hardcopy book, and some of the pages looked a little funny side to side. But maybe just me.

All in all, I liked this book! It’s a great story, definitely worthy of being added to our collection of standard fairy tales, and I can’t wait to share this with the children I work with. It does have some awkward phrasing, but the story more than makes up for it. If you or the children in your life love fairy tales, are ever a grumpface yourself, or love silly stories, you should definitely check out The Grumpface.

Find The Grumpface on Book Depository

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