Allison's Book Bag

Maya Was Grumpy by Courtney Pippin-Marthur

Posted on: May 27, 2013

Move over Alexander. Maya is here! Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst is one of my favorite books to pull out when my day is not going well.  Now I’ve found another book to stack beside it: Maya Was Grumpy by Courtney Pippin-Marthur. Both its text and its illustrations are guaranteed to turn the saddest face into a happy one.

Have you ever just woken up in a grump? I certainly have. And it’s what happens to young Maya one day. Meaning that she doesn’t want to “read or color or eat banana chips”. Nor does she want to “wear her favorite shorts or go outside and play”. Poor Maya! There’s little worse than being unable to enjoy your favorite activities.

Do you adhere to the idea that misery loves company? In other words, that you must share that grumpiness as if it were a  common cold. Yep, I’ve been there too. And that’s naturally what happens to our Maya. My husband tries not to have anything to do with my bad moods.  Maya has a similar experience. The family cat, her brothers, and even the outdoor birds all desert her. Only her Gramma (I’m not sure where her parents are) takes notice and asks the obvious question, “Feeling a bit grumpy today?”

What I love foremost about Maya Was Grumpy is how it so captures a feeling that we all experience in such a delightful way. There’s no preaching or morality lessons happening here. We simply meet Maya and immediately recognize a kindred spirit, that moody child which exists in all of us no matter what our age. Then we see Maya stomp about her day, until Gramma responds with some quirky and outrageous ideas.  I’ll give away only one: “I guess that means no hunting for hippos after breakfast.”

In Alexander and the Terrible No Good Very Bad, Alexander’s mood never improves but goes from bad to worse. Alexander starts out wanting to move to Australia to escape his day, but ends up deciding at the end that some days are “terrible, no good, very bad” even in Australia. Good life lesson! Maya was Grumpy takes a different twist which I found satisfying and clever too.

I’d be remiss if I ended this review without mentioning the illustrations. Often I ignore the aspect of artwork in my reviews, but the watercolor spreads in Maya was Grumpy are so delightfully bold and bright that I need to praise them too. Many of us can wrap gifts nicely enough, and that’s often how I view the design of picture books. Every now and then, however, we meet someone who wraps up gifts in such a spunky or elegant way that we admire them. With Maya was Grumpy, the artwork is so perfect that it invites me from the cover alone to open up its pages.


The publishers of Maya was Grumpy, Flashlight Press, advertise themselves as a publishing house specializing in children’s picture books with captivating writing and outstanding illustrations. If this first example is any indication of what they have to offer, they’ve been wise in their focus. Except for the classic examples which we all grew up with, I tend to only read picture books when I need for them as a teacher for school. Maya was Grumpy encourages me to broaden my reading horizons to read picture books on a more regular basis.

My rating? Bag it: Carry it with you. Make it a top priority to read.

How would you rate this book?

2 Responses to "Maya Was Grumpy by Courtney Pippin-Marthur"

[…] Maya Was Grumpy by Courtney Pippin-Marthur ( […]

Another positive review for Maya was Grumpy!

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