Picture Book Reviews · Picture Books

Review: Rumple Buttercup by Matthew Gray Gubler

Review: Rumple Buttercup by Matthew Gray Gubler


Rumple Buttercup is afraid to take part in the world because he doesn’t look like other people. Ashamed of his crooked teeth and weird feet and green skin, he hides away underground. Not wanting to be lonely, he makes a friend out of sweets and watches the world on special occasions. 

When a couple of boys come to find him on the day of a parade, Rumple learns that most people are insecure about some parts of themselves. 

A gentle and funny story about insecurity and self-confidence. 

I was moved by this story. It is the book I needed as a young teenager, even as a pre-teen when I stood out a little for my wild hair and braces and persistent acne. A few comments made me certain that the whole world was looking. Insecurity begins from the silliest of places but it can destroy people’s ability to function as normal. 

The saddest part is that those things we dislike about ourselves are rarely that noticeable. 

Rumple’s story is like the little message which lots of people need. I love that the book has been produced in small format because it would make a lovely gift for people to carry around when they need that reminder that they don’t stand out in a crowd. If you know somebody with self-confidence issues, or someone who has been affected too much by one comment, pass them a copy of this book. Suggesting that people need to pick themselves up, when they are feeling insecure about themselves already, only comes across as additional criticism, so give them a fictional friend and let them work the rest out for themselves. 

Sketchy, cartoonlike illustrations give the book the same feel as a series of motivational doodles. Humour in the pictures gently suggests that Rumple, with his underground hideaway and tin can chandelier, might have taken things too far. 

This is a beautiful story about self-confidence that people of all ages will relate to and embrace.


Thanks to Penguin Books UK for my copy of Rumple Buttercup. Opinions my own.