Grumbly Grumpadinkle: Initial Rough Draft Story Outline

I recently posted an initial rough draft story outline of “Zach and Backer, the Toad Who Rode a Bull”. This evening I requested from the brilliant illustrator Josh McGill an initial concept illustration of the main characters in a key scene from the story. This helps us to brainstorm ideas and get the text and illustrations in sync going forward.

Initial concept illustrations have the added feature of inspiring me and keeping me focused. I keep them on my desk or on the wall facing me. GG Wendy and Love Grumpadinkle_sample

Below I’ve included the initial rough draft story outline of “Grumbly Grumpadinkle” and have a attached the initial concept illustration from that story.

Before I present the initial rough draft outline of “Grumbly Grumpadinkle”, I have a request for you:

If you choose to read it, and have read the one for “Zach and Backer, the Toad Who Rode a Bull”, would you please be so kind as to suggest which one you’d prefer to see developed into a children’s book first? I like various aspects of both stories and haven’t yet decided which to complete first. I wanted to honor you, the readers of this blog, with this request. Thank you!

With Love,


Grumbly Grumpledinkle

Wendy Goodlight was a little girl who lived on Sunny Day Lane. It was a friendly place where people smiled and helped each other.

One day, a man moved in across the street. He yelled at Wendy and her friend, “My name is Grumbly Grumpledinkle. You kids better stay on your side of the street! If I find any of your toys on my side of the street I’m going to throw them away!

“What a mean thing to say,” whispered Wendy’s friend.

Grumbly Grumpledinkle frowned all over town. He was not nice to anyone.  He sang a song to everyone.

“Grumbly Grumpledinkle is my name

Don’t try to visit and don’t try to call

I need no one and no one needs me

And that’s the way I want it to be

Go away and leave me alone

Don’t try to visit and don’t you dare call

Smiles began to turn to frowns.

And it started happening all over town.

As others began to get grumpy too

Wendy Goodlight thought to herself, “This won’t do.

I better come up with a plan to help this man,

before he makes everyone sad and mad.

I better do it quick before everyone gets sick.

Already in Grumbly’s heart


Everyone, that is, except Wendy Goodlight.

She said to herself, “That can’t be right.

I’ll bet he just needs a great big hug

Warmth from kindness and a whole lot of Love.

In Grumbly’s heart things were getting worse.

Being mean and nasty is really quite a curse.

His heart got darker, heavier, and sadder


When he opened the door at last

Wendy handed a furry bundle to him real fast

He saw he held a kindness cuddly and warm

Wrapped tightly in his folded arms

He looked at it and looked real mean

Then he looked at Wendy and began to scream,

“I don’t need this kindness, and I don’t want Love!”

But then that kindness gave him a great big hug.

He looked down at it with great surprise

And was about to glare at Wendy with cruel, cruel eyes

But when he looked at where she’d been she was already gone.

He looked at the cuddly ball of fur wrapped in his arms

He said to Love, “What am I going to do with you? I’ve never had a kindness before.”

I’m much too busy for you. What I’m I going to do?

I’ve got an idea. You go live in a zoo!

He put Love on the floor and began to push him toward the door.

But kindness jumped back into his arms and held on tight.

Grumbly said, “Well, I guess it wouldn’t hurt to keep you for ONE night.”

The he looked out the window in his door

And saw something that he’d never seen before.

Someone was trying to mow his yard

It was Wendy Goodlight and she was working hard.

The handle to the mower was so very tall

That even on her tippy toes she could barely reach it at all.

She had to lean with all her might to make it move an inch

The sight of that poor girl made old Grumbly flinch.

Then a neighbor saw her and asked, “Why are you helping him?

Old Grumpledinkle is mean, he’s nasty, and grim.”

But Wendy just shrugged and smiled, for she was never one to boast,

Quietly said, “I think people like him need our caring the most.”

The neighbor thought for a moment, then a smile lit his face.

You’re a wise girl Wendy. May I take your place?

So he took the mower and kept cutting the lawn.

Other neighbors noticed, and asked if they could help

And soon a lot of people were helping in the yard

With so much help the job wasn’t very hard

Some trimmed his bushes, some waxed his car

Washed his windows, pulled some weeds

And did all the work a big yard needs.

Grumbly Grumpledinkle saw all this and more

As he watched through the window in the door.

And as he held that kindness that was named Love

He gave it a great big hug real tight

His heart no longer felt dark and heavy

It now felt bright and light

And everything that had seemed so wrong

Now felt so very right. But everyone froze with fright

When he opened up the door and yelled

“I want you all to stop right now!”

But he said it with a great big smile instead of a scowl.

He said, “It’s hot out here and I think

It’s time you all had a nice cold drink.

So come on in, won’t you please?

I have lots of ice and burzleberry tea.”

But then he smiled and thanked them all




About russtowne

My wife and I have been married since 1979. We have 3 adult children and 4 young grandsons. I manage a wealth management firm I founded in 2003. My Beloved is a Special Education teacher for Kindergartners and First Graders. I'm a published author of 23 books in a variety of genres for grownups and children. In addition to my family, friends, investing, and writing, my passions include reading, watching classic movies, experiencing waves crashing on rocky shores, hiking in ancient redwood forests, and enjoying our small redwood grove and fern garden.
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6 Responses to Grumbly Grumpadinkle: Initial Rough Draft Story Outline

  1. mimijk says:

    Hi Russ – I love this story!! One comment? I think there’s a close resemblance between the illustrated Grumbledinkle and Seuss’ Grinch, even though they are different colors. Just a thought and I arguably don’t know what I’m talking about when it comes to children’s books..

    • russtowne says:

      Hi, Mimi. My earlier longer reply is missing. Weird. Anyway, I know you’ve seen it because you kindly responded to it. Thank you for your helpful feedback.

      • mimijk says:

        I wrote back too Russ – that I felt terrible that you would change all of this because of one person’s uninformed perspective. I’m not a children’s author and I’m only one voice…I also reiterated that I loved the story!!

    • russtowne says:

      Hi, Mimi. The “reply” button under your most recent comment is missing so I’m using this one despite be my reply most likely now being out of sequence. I replied to your response that your comment about the Grinch just reinforced growing concerns I had about the unintentional similarities between my story and the Grinch story and I’d set it aside for about 3 weeks. I follow my passion, and it hadn’t been there for that book until your comment became the catalyst that helped me to focus on it again and come up with more ideas. So, your comment was a blessing for me, and I am grateful. I may not have ever gotten around to completing the story if not for your comment.

      Thank you!


  2. They are both good Russ… but different in that this one has more rhyme in it… but I would have to say I think the toad named Backer would be my choice for first one published.. Diane

    • russtowne says:

      Thank you for your feedback, Diane. Both stories will (hopefully) eventually rhyme though the whole book. These were just very rough initial outlines.

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