Review of small press and independent books.
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If I ever get my own internet connection up and running, I must launch a serious search for this book, and its sequel whose name I can't even remember. Grump is an evil-tempered, misanthropic caveman, whose only friend is Herman the mammoth - at least, Herman believes that Grump is his friend, although in fact Grump hates him even more than he hates everybody else, and spends a lot of his time trying to avoid Herman, lose Herman, or play some kind of evil trick on Herman. Somehow he ends up inventing cookery, the wheel and all kinds of other useful skills and devices in the process, hugely improving caveman life and winning the admiration of the rest of the tribe, but he never actually achieves his evil ends or even dents Herman's naive affection for him. I remember my brother (the actual owner of the books) and myself finding them incredibly funny, and Grump's insult to Herman "Your mother was a rug and your father was a hairy hallstand!" is branded into my memory to this day, mainly because my brother shouted it so often.
Whooptedoo, I found it, I found it... and the sequel, incidentally, is Grump Strikes Back. Pickleblossom's bedtime reading is now sorted for at least a fortnight, because I can't resist diving into it at once... and I'd forgotten how comical the illustrations are, too. Sing a song of sixpence, who's as smart as me, make a mammoth parcel and post him to a tree...
I've just discovered that there are two more sequels, 'Grump and That Mammoth Again' and 'Grump Goes Galumphing', illustrations by the same artist. An unreasonable amount of money in postage, packing and administration fees later, a second-hand copy of each is on its way to my brother for his 41st birthday.
He was delighted, and I had a thank-you letter out of him for the first time in his life!