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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Rumple Buttercup's engaging style will attract and delight many an early reader (and also the read-aloud set).
Strong messages of recognizing that we're all weird in some way, and so what? Let's get on with having a good life together.
Positive Role Models
Sweet, shy, funny-looking Rumple is endearing in his longing for friends (to the point of making an imaginary one) -- as well as his delight at being accepted and befriended. The boy and the man who befriend him point out the weird things about themselves so Rumple will realize he's not the only one.
Violence & Scariness
Rumple worries about what will happen if anyone ever sees him. Especially if they get scared, run away, or throw rocks at his head. (In fact, none of these things happen.)
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"Weird" comes up a lot, but that's as strong as the language gets.
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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.
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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Our Editors Recommend
Books That Promote Diversity and Inclusion
Books About Friendship
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.See how we rate