Six lessons from The Grumpopotamus
We at Manimal Tales pride ourselves on creating personalized books that are engaging for adults and children, and have great takeaways that you can discuss with your kids for days after reading the books!
The Grumpopotamus follows the story of a Hooman child (your child!) and Anonymouse, as they try their best to un-grump the Grumpopotamus - a truly terribly grumpy fellow whose presence makes the rest of the Manimals grumpy and mean as well. The Grumpopotamus teaches children (and adults!) about so many different aspects of the human condition. It’s a personalized book with a lot of heart, and has great lessons for kids.
Here are six (of the many!) lessons that The Grumpopotamus teaches us:
1. Always try new things
When Dandylion (King of Manimal Forest) asks who would be willing to take on the task of un-grumping the Grumpo, no one seems too keen to step forward, until Anonymouse does. She says:
Just because you’ve led life a certain way, it’s never too late to change, learn something new and step out of your comfort zone! Anonymouse shows us that all it takes is the willingness to say ‘yes’, and try. She stepped up when no one else would - and if Anonymouse can do it, so can we!
2. Appearances aren’t everything
Anonymouse is small and quiet - so everyone immediately assumes that there’s no way that she’s going to be able to do anything to un-grump the Grumpo. The Grumpopotamus was big, scary and mean - so what could she, a tiny little mouse do? But there’s something that Anonymouse has that the other Manimals can’t see yet - courage and determination.
People often equate being quiet with a lack of confidence or courage. Anonymouse shows us that’s not always the case. Appearances aren’t everything! Just because a person is quiet doesn’t mean they can’t be brave. Anonymouse refuses to let what anyone thinks about her stop her from pushing forward and succeeding at un-grumping the Grumpo.
3. We all need help from time to time
We’ve established that Anonymouse was brave, courageous, and determined - but that doesn’t mean that she didn’t need help. After trying to ask a long list of Manimals to help her, and being unsuccessful every time, she finally asks a Hooman child (your kid!) for help to un-grump the Grumpopotamus.
We all need a little help from time to time. Anonymouse knows that she could use a little help, and she’s not afraid to ask for it. It can be scary asking for help - because it makes us feel vulnerable and we might be worried that other people might perceive us as being weak. Anonymouse teaches us that’s just not true! You can be strong, and brave and still need help. All of it can be true at the same time. What’s more, Anonymouse finds the right person who sets off on this mission with her, with the same enthusiasm and bravery. All she had to do was ask.
4. Just because others have tried and failed, it doesn’t mean you will too.
Before asking the Hooman child, Anonymouse asks a whole slew of other Manimals for help including the Girafalaffas, Dally Llama, and Charmadillo. All of them explain to her how they had tried to un-grump the Grumpo and how they had all failed. Anonymouse doesn’t let this get to her. Even though bigger and smarter manimals had failed, she still presses on. She doesn’t let their failures become hers.
Often, we’re so good at assuming the worst of ourselves. We think, “If that amazing person who seems to know so much more than me couldn’t do it, then I don’t stand a chance!” Anonymouse doesn’t let anyone else’s failures convince her that she won’t be able to succeed. She simply keeps pushing and keeps her eyes set on the goal - and she gets there! Sometimes, we just need to be our own cheerleaders and keep pushing until we succeed.
5. It’s okay to admit to being wrong, even if you’re the King.
After Anonymouse is successful, Dandylion admits loudly and proudly that he was wrong about two things - he thought you had to be big to be brave, and that he confused feeling sad for being bad. Even though Dandy is the king, he readily admits that he was wrong in front of the rest of the Manimals. There’s a great lesson for all people, if only we’re willing to follow Dandy’s example. If only we all were more forgiving of others’ mistakes and more accepting of our own - I dare say that this world would be a better place. This lesson just goes to show that sometimes children’s books can be the wisest of them all.
6. Be there for your friends, even when they push you away
When Anonymouse can’t figure out how to help Grumpo, the Hooman child (your kid!) comes up with the right idea. The child discerns that Grumpo is always so grumpy because he has no friends and everyone always runs away from him. The only way to ungrump the Grumpo was to convince him that he did have friends and that he was not alone after all - no matter how much he tried to push them away.
Sometimes, our friends may try and push us away, or we might try and push others away too! But sticking around and being there for Grumpo really did drive all his meanness and grumpiness away, and we need to remember to do the same for our friends too.