Summary: This dump truck has a bad attitude.
It's not easy being a dump truck, hauling heavy dirt from one place to the next. All that work has made Bertrand decidedly grouchy. But when he meets Tilly, a cheerful porcupine construction worker, Bertrand’s attitude begins to change. Can this grumpy dump truck learn to be nice? Brie Spangler’s hilarious new picture book is perfect for little truck lovers! -- Knopf
THE GRUMPY DUMP TRUCK by Brie Spangler is just a terrific picture book -- both my son and I agree on this. This book is the story of Bertrand the dump truck who is extremely grumpy about having to haul dirt all day -- and boy, was he grumpy! Bertrand meets Tilly the porcupine whose quill pierces his tire, and he becomes even more upset. Tilly remains calm and pulls out her quill from his tire, along with quite a few other objects. Bertrand immediately feels better and is so grateful that he says "Thank You" for the very first time. After all of that, he has a major attitude adjustment and suddenly wants to help others.
My son totally understood this book and did a great job of explaining it to me. I'm not sure that all the messages in this book were clear to him, but he did comprehend that Tilly's behavior ultimately made Bertrand happier. He thought the parts of the story where Bertrand was being mean to everyone were hilarious, but he also was excited that Bertrand finally felt better.
I think this book has so many wonderful messages. I took the opportunity to use this book to discuss a few things to my son. The most important lesson that we talked about was that there are things happening "inside" of every person that we might not know. That being the case, I explained that we should try not to be grumpy with others; however, sometime grumpy people do have a reason for their grumpiness. As compassionate people, we have to try to understand that something might be wrong and be patient with them -- just like Tilly was.
To bring the lesson a little closer to home, I asked him if I was every grumpy to him. He laughed and nodded his head (a little too enthusiastically if you ask me.) I told him that sometimes I am upset about something that happened to me earlier in the day or that I'm not feeling well. My grumpiness really doesn't have anything to do with him and that his feelings shouldn't get hurt. I also pointed out that it's not okay for me to treat him poorly because of my own issues; and that I should realize what I did wrong and try harder to have a better attitude. I think he got the general gist of it!
THE GRUMPY DUMP TRUCK is available today -- July 14, 2009. Thanks to Knopf for sending me a copy of this book.