Designed as kids’ art book, Grump, Groan, Growl digs down and connects with kids at their level with a picture book that is intended to help toddlers understand emotional control. This is about giving kids their first lesson in redirection energy that winds them up and makes them otherwise crazy little tornadoes of mayhem in a household. bell hooks takes what is her normal acidic skill at social commentary and transforms it into a help book for first-year readers. In doing so, Grump, Groan, Growl attaches to kids at their communication level with the favorable analogies of animal sounds, but in reality, it’s teaching them their first lessons at assimilating with society, starting with their home life.
Grump, Groan, Growl
Do remember how you behaved as a little kid? Somewhere around 3 or 4, when your first long-term memories connected back, how did you behave? Maybe like a growling animal or a big bear or something similar? Grump, Groan, Growl by bell hooks is written for the 3-year-old, intentionally designed to tap into that natural acting mechanism of kids when they translate their emotions into action, at least when they are not outright misbehaving and driving the family nuts. Rather than focus on suppressing energy, hooks pushes kids towards embracing their zeal and controlling it. The book provides them guidance on how to refocus emotional passion into positive behavior and positive output. We think of this in adult terms, but for kids Grump, Groan, Growl gives them basic sign posts to remember instead of being caught up in the moment, which often gets them in trouble. Instead of always hiding from their emotions and energy, kids are taught in the book to accept it is part of their personality and how to finesse the use of these emotions instead. The end goal, of course, is personality control, a key skill needed by children to allow them to assimilate into society as they grow older.