Posted by Lorren on January 28, 2010
Choo Choo! All Aboard the Good News Express! I was sent a copy of The Cheerful Grump to review by the Passkeys Foundation. Just who is the Passkeys Foundation? They are trying to help kids build better character (and don’t we need a little more of that in these days? They offer grants to elementary schools to implement a character-building curriculum, have an essay contest for middle schoolers, and assist with mentoring (which kids undergoing difficult situations at home could really use). As far as I know, they seem to be a great organization, but do they have good products?
The Cheerful Grump is one of four stories from the Good News Express book series. The entire set of four can be purchased by the company for $20, or you can purchase books individually for $7.50. They accept credit, debit, and even Paypal (but not Discover Card).
So what do you get for your money? Well, just taking a look at Amazon.com prices for other hardback books (which is what you get), almost every book costs more than $7.50. Plus, the Good News Express books all come with a CD with the stories and songs. So you’re getting a pretty good deal, especially if you buy four for $20.
But is the book any good? The book is geared towards 3 to 5 year olds, but kids this age won’t be able to read it on their own, unless they’re headed for genius. The book has many two syllable names, and the name of one of the characters, Evangeline, is four syllables long. My seven-year old can read this book, however, and she keeps it in her room and reads it sometimes at night. I read this book to my three-year-old, and it kept him interested. So I would say that this book is something that many kids would enjoy.
Not only is the book good, but the book teaches about having a good attitude, even when things don’t go your way. Even adults can use that lesson from time to time. The main character, Bramwell, is excited for Card-Writing Day, where he could write beautiful cards with rhymes for all of his friends. Unfortunately, he trips and breaks his arm, and can’t write. Although his friends try to cheer him up, he cannot be consoled, because now he can’t write notes.
He ends up talking to someone else who is worse off than him, and he realizes that he doesn’t need to have a grumpy attitude, and that he can still make people feel better, even if he can’t write cards for a while.
The illustrations are cute and the book is generally well-written. The only thing that I would say could be improved in this book is that the six main characters aren’t really introduced well, although a child reading this book over and over again probably wouldn’t need that. I think that this book could use quite a few more than four books in the series too. I really like the concept of these books, and my kids enjoy it.
This book is well worth checking out. I think that kids through elementary school could enjoy this book. You will have to read this book to younger kids, but readers will probably want to take this and keep it with the rest of their library.