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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Rumple Buttercup is an appealing tale aimed at early readers, written and illustrated by Matthew Gray Gubler. The title character is a strange-looking, lizard-like fellow who's so worried about how people will react to his weird appearance that he spends his life in a storm drain, looking longingly at all the fun happening outside and trying to be invisible. But things take a turn for the better when a boy and his dad insist on befriending him, and Rumple soon learns that everybody's got something about themselves that they think is weird, and we can all have fun together just the same. Between the endearing illustrations and the kindly life lessons, there's a lot to like here.
What's the story?
RUMPLE BUTTERCUP has five crooked teeth, three strands of hair, green skin, and his feet are different sizes. He's sure if anyone sees him it won't go well, so he spends his life hiding in a storm drain with his imaginary friend, Candy Corn Carl. When he wants to see what's going on outside, he dons his disguise -- a banana peel on top of his head -- and sticks his head outside the drain. He thinks this makes him invisible. After years of this, he's feeling sad, discouraged, lonely, left out, and sure this is just the way things are, because after all, he's weird, right? And then he hears a voice from above. And it's not Candy Corn Carl. Things are about to change fast.
Is it any good?
Matthew Gray Gubler's whimsical illustrated tale of a monster trying to stay invisible because he's afraid people will think he's weird and be mean to him will resonate with kids and adults alike. Sweet, shy, lonely Rumple Buttercup gets sadder and sadder watching the world go by, and resorts to pathetically hilarious coping strategies like hiding under a banana peel. But when some people insist on befriending him anyhow, and everybody he meets points out something weird about themselves, it's a life-affirming and life-changing discovery for Rumple, and also for the reader.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the main character seems himself in Rumple Buttercup. How do we expect other people to see us? Are there things we do in our everyday lives so people will think we're nice and accept us?
Do you have any imaginary friends (like Candy Corn Carl, who's Rumple's imaginary friend)? Do your real-life friends know about them, and if so what do they think? Do you make up characters together sometimes?
Have you ever watched a parade? Have you ever marched in one, or ridden on a float? Was it fun? What did you like best? Did anything surprise you?
- Author: Matthew Gray Gubler
- Illustrator: Matthew Gray Gubler
- Genre: Friendship
- Topics: Friendship, Misfits and Underdogs
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
- Publication date: April 2, 2019
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 6 - 18
- Number of pages: 136
- Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: January 6, 2020
Our editors recommend
For kids who love stories of friendship and dealing with differences
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