Steffi & Michael Gerharz live with their three children in Troisdorf, near Cologne, Germany. Under their aprilkind label, they design and develop stories and stuffed toys for children from around the world to play with. They got the idea for the Grumbletroll when their youngest daughter sat across from them at the breakfast table, sulking and grumbling with her arms crossed. With great attention to detail, they designed the little troll as a transformable plush figure that you just can’t help but love, despite his anger, and with it, the concept for a picture book series that they brought to life together with Stephan Pricken and Barbara van den Speulhof. As a passionate children’s book author, director, and producer of (children’s) audio plays, Barbara van den Speulhof knows that the issue of anger plays a big role in many families. That’s why the idea of the little troll, who can hardly keep his anger in check, seemed just right to her. Using careful and sensitive words, she tells the story of the Grumbletroll with authenticity, sweetness, and a guarantee of no finger-wagging. As the father of a son, Stephan Pricken also knows a lot about being really angry. After forays into mechanical engineering and architecture, he first studied elementary school teaching with a focus on art and ultimately graphic design in Münster, where he now lives and works as a freelance illustrator. Developing the little troll and his world based on the existing stuffed toy was an unusual but exciting task for him, which he solved wonderfully: you just have to love his Grumbletroll!
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