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Protagonists are having terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days in these new and upcoming picture books:

messer_grumpy pants brosgol_leave me alone ferrell_snurch
downes_come home angus john_penguin problems gravel_cranky ballerina
(What’s with the pissy penguins? I thought they were supposed to have happy feet.)

Fortunately, these grumpy characters find ways to turn their frowns upside-down. The protagonist of Jory John and Lane Smith’s Penguin Problems gets a reality check from a more positive friend, while in Elise Gravel’s The Cranky Ballerina, a new hobby (/outlet for cranky feelings) does the trick. And in Claire Messer’s Grumpy Pants, Penguin cheers up with a relaxing bath followed by a good book — a feel-better fix likely familiar to many of us.

Katie Bircher About Katie Bircher

Katie Bircher, associate editor at The Horn Book, Inc., is a former bookseller and holds an MA in children's literature from Simmons College. She served as chair of the 2018 Boston Globe-Horn Book Award committee. Follow Katie on Twitter @lyraelle.

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