Gregory and the Grimbockle
by Melanie Schubert
illustrations by Abigail Kraft
book soundtrack by Jared Kraft
I read this book at the request of the author, Melanie Schubert, in exchange for my review. I was so excited to accept as I love middle grade books. I’m also always honored when an author asks me to read their book. Well, this book was delightful! It was whimsical, sweet and endearing. It was also a quick read which will be lovely for young readers (and was fun for me). I really enjoyed Schubert’s writing style, which was descriptive and fun. Her characters were endearing and I found myself immediately caring about the main character, Gregory. One of the things that made me especially happy was the that fact that kindness and friendship were encouraged in the story.
Gregory is a young boy with a huge mole on his face. He is made fun of because of it and consequently is a bit of a loner, even in his own family. One of his neighbors, Old Ethel, grabs at his mole one day and pulls it off a bit. That night a little creature jumps out of Gregory’s mole and knocks over his dominos, waking up Gregory. Soon thereafter, Gregory learns that the little creature is a Grimbockle. He also learns that there are exoodles (invisible strings) coming from humans and connecting them to other humans. When there are friendships and love, the exoodles are bright and strong, but when there is a lack of love, the exoodles are droopy and broken. The Grimbockle and other bockles are working on fixing weak exoodles, but it is difficult. Gregory gets enlisted to help the Grimbockle in his work and goes on a magical tour, which is made all the better when the Grimbockle enables Gregory to see all the invisible things around him, including the world of the bockles. Spoilers: Gregory is able to help the bockles when he shows them that rekindling love and kindness between people is what will strengthen the exoodles. He sets about doing this in his own family and even makes some friends at school. Knowing about the exoodles is what drives him to make connections. He even reaches out to Old Ethel after she plucks his mole off his face and they end up bonding over dominos and sweets. The ending is just the best though. You see Gregory grow up and learn about how he travels and spreads kindness and love all around. It is the best message.
In addition to the book, I should mention that there is a book soundtrack. It is incredible. The music made the book come to life and I thoroughly enjoyed listening. I also thought the illustrations added to the book and were really lovely.
Summing it up: All in all, I truly loved this book and am so happy to have been able to read it. I recommend it and I will definitely be reading this one to my boys when they get a little older!