Project Description


The Grudge Keeper

by Mara Rockliff
illustrated by Eliza Wheeler

No one in the town of Bonnyripple ever kept a grudge. No one, that is, except old Cornelius, the Grudge Keeper.

The townspeople of Bonnyripple count on Cornelius to file away their tiffs and huffs, squabbles and snits. But when a storm flings the people together and their grudges to the wind, will the Grudge Keeper be out of a job?

This timely and entertaining story is beautifully conveyed through Rockliff’s witty wordplay and Wheeler’s elegant illustrations.

Format: Hardcover
Price: $16.95
ISBN: 978-1-56145-729-8
Publication Date: 4/1/2014
Page Count: 32
Size: 9-1/2 ̎ x 11 ̎
Age Range: 4 – 8
Language: English
AR Level: 4.2
GRL: M, Gr 2
Lexile: AD820L
Themes: Conflict Resolution, Forgiveness, Wordplay
BISAC 1: JUV012030 JUVENILE FICTION / Fairy Tales & Folklore / General
BISAC 2: JUV039060 JUVENILE FICTION / Social Issues / Friendship
BISAC 3: JUV019000 JUVENILE FICTION / Humorous Stories


“Rockliff has created a clever fable characterized by ornate language, extraordinary characters and billowy atmosphere. … Wheeler’s strong, witty ink-and-watercolor illustrations combine with the text to humorously demonstrate that “holding a grudge” is a bad thing.” ―Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW

“Wheeler’s (Miss Maple’s Seeds) sure hand and lyrical pen-and-ink spreads are the source of this story’s charm. Long skirts billow, the fairy-tale cottage of Cornelius the Grudge Keeper leans sweetly to one side, and the white scraps of paper on which villagers have written their grudges billow and drift like sea foam.” ―Publishers Weekly

“This is an especially attractive picture book… Wheeler’s eye-catching cartoon drawings are busy with activity and whimsical detail that adds fullness to this simple, pleasant tale, and Rockliff’s telling is sprightly. This book will resonate most with teachers and adults looking to share stories about the value of forgiveness.” ―School Library Journal

“Rockliff’s wordplay is a joy, while Wheeler’s Dickensian group of scowlers is pleasant to watch—even when they get happy.” ―Booklist

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“Clever details in Wheeler’s pen, ink, and watercolor illustrations support Rockliff’s parable about getting along by letting things go.” ―The Horn Book Guide

“There’s a hint of enchantment in Mara Rockliff’s ‘The Grudge Keeper,’ a slightly uneven tale of resentment and reconciliation that plays with language and humorously casts fresh meaning on old sayings.” ―The Wall Street Journal

“Clever and on point, this picture-book tale captures the burden of grudge-holding with lighthearted humor and impressive verbal dexterity. As Rockliff’s Juster-esque gymnastics please with wordplay…Wheeler’s pen and ink drawings capture the vaguely Victorian world of Bonnyripple with whimsy and warmth…This is a smart, witty tale for those kids feeling slighted, or just slightly silly.” ―The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

“Rockliff’s fresh and spirited original tale is a wonderfully paced, language-rich narrative full of delight…The playful lines and charming details of Wheeler’s art perfectly echoes Rockliff’s sense of whimsy.” ―Cooperative Children’s Book Center

“Brimming with movement, a bounce here and there, billowing dresses and courtly shirts, Wheeler’s lyrical drawings perfectly complement Rockliff’s tale of forgiveness. This is a warm-hearted book to savor and read over and over again.” ―Maureen Palacios, The Indie Next List

“Timely in its telling, Rockliff and Wheeler together manage to make a book that feels simultaneously fresh and classic all in one go. Beautifully rendered and written, there’s nothing begrudging in my praise of this work. If you want something that could be read by countless generations of kids thanks to its classic feel, this little title has your number. Sublime.” ―A Fuse #8 Production

“Charming tale brimming with wordplay.” ―Shelf Awareness

“Keep your eye on Ms. Wheeler.” ―Julie Danielson, BookPage

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Parents’ Choice Approved Award ―Parents’ Choice Foundation, 2014

Best Children’s Books of the Year ―Bank Street College of Education, 2015

Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People ―National Council for the Social Studies/Children’s Book Council, 2015

CCBC Choices (Picture Books for School-Age Children) ―Cooperative Children’s Book Center, 2015

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Kansas State Reading Circle Recommended Reading List (Primary) ―Kansas National Education Association, 2015

Children’s Book Award (Nominee) ―Florida Reading Association, 2015-2016

Anne Izard Storytellers’ Choice Award ―Westchester Library Association, 2015

Storytelling World Resource Awards (Winner, Stories for Pre-Adolescent Listeners) ―Storytelling World magazine, 2015

Paterson Prize for Books for Young People (Honor Book) ―The Poetry Center at Passaic County Community College, 2015

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Meet the Author

Mara Rockliff is the author of several children’s books, including Me and Momma and Big John, winner of the Golden Kite Award and a Charlotte Zolotow Honor Book. She lives in Pennsylvania. You can visit her website here.

Meet the Illustrator

Eliza Wheeler wrote and illustrated Miss Maple’s Seeds, a New York Times best seller. She lives in California. You can visit her website here.