Newest Review: ... of Julia Donaldson and the beautiful illustrations of axel scheffler. In fact I think the illustrations make this book- the characters real... more
Silly Old You, Didn't You Know, There's No Such Thing As A Gruffalo.....or is there?
Member Name: sandemp
Advantages: Classic tale, beautifully written and illustrated, lovely rhymes
Disadvantages: Your child may want you to read it more times than you've got time for
A mouse took a stroll through the deep, dark wood. A fox saw the mouse and the mouse looked good.
From the very first page this beautifully written and illustrated children's book exudes the qualities that make it a classic that deserves a place on every child's bookshelf. Available in various formats we actually have two copies of The Gruffalo in this house, a board book that is two year old Freddy's everyday copy and a special edition hardback that we are keeping until he is a little older and less likely to tear and eat the pages.
When we first started reading The Gruffalo, we did little more than look at the beautifully detailed illustrations. We loved looking at the woodland scenes seeing what animals we could spot as we followed the Mouse on his adventures as he made his way through the deep, dark wood encountering various animals that wanted to eat him. We also loved The Gruffalo when we finally encountered him, he really is everything a scary monster should be, with his orange eyes, purple prickles, terrible tusks and terrible claws. But he isn't so scary that he terrifies, there's something about his ridiculous body that will make almost any child laugh. As far as the illustrations go, all I can say is kudos to Axel Scheffler for his contribution to what is presently our favourite bedtime story.
As Freddy has grown he has started to take far more interest in the words in a story book and due to the wonderful way the story in this book flows and the beautiful cadence in the rhyme this is the perfect book for me to read out loud to him. It's a book I never tire of reading and one Freddy never tires of listening to. We love the way that The Mouse gradually builds up a picture of The Gruffalo as he describes it to the different animals that want to eat him, persuading them that they really need to hide from this ferocious creature that he thinks he is inventing. We especially love the repetition in the phrase "Silly Old Fox/Owl/Snake, doesn't he know, there's no such thing as a Gruffalo". This simple little rhyme is one that even a developmentally delayed, virtually non-verbal child such as Freddy can delight in and attempt to repeat. We also love the sense of anticipation and shock as The Mouse not only discovers that there is such a thing as a Gruffalo, but that it too thinks he'll make a good snack. Freddy doesn't yet have the understanding to appreciate how clever The Mouse is as he not only tricks the other animals but also goes on to trick the Gruffalo, but my older children did and the they loved the idea that you don't have to be big and strong to come out on top.
I absolutely love the way that Julia Donaldson seems to have found her way into the mindset of the target age group of 3-5, to produce a book that appeals to them on so many different levels. From the wonderfully simple story told in soothing rhyme, to the many opportunities to put on silly voices as you read, to the way that with repeated readings they can start to join in. The Gruffalo really does seem to be the favourite book of the moment in this house, it is a story that Freddy will ask me to read to him several times a day and a book that Freddy will quite happily sit and look at on his own. If asked (and able to answer me), I'm sure Freddy would give The Gruffalo five stars out of five, as would I, as it is simply a beloved book that Freddy enjoys have read to him, while not turning my brain to mush after reading it five times on the trot. In fact The Gruffalo is such a beloved book with pre-school children that it has not only sold over 3.5 million copies (in 31 editions world wide) but has also spawned an animated film and various toys and other merchandise, along with a sequel, The Gruffalo's Child.
Summary: A wonderful book for bedtime