We missed The Gruffalo when it was at the Children’s Theatre, but my nephew saw it and was so mesmerized by the story that I think it will always be one of his favorites. How can you not love a little mouse who out-smarts his would-be enemies, scaring them off by describing his great friend, a gruffalo. What’s a gruffalo, you ask?
“He has terrible tusks, and terrible claws, and terrible teeth in his terrible jaws…”
And of course, his favorite food is always whichever predator the mouse is talking to.
The twist in the story comes when the mouse finds out that the creature he is describing truly exists! Check out this book to find out how the mouse outsmarts him, too.
My kids and I recently went on a Julia Donaldson reading spree, and this was one of their three favorites. Another winner was The Spiffiest Giant in Town. This giant actually starts out as the scruffiest in town. He decides to spruce himself up, but soon discovers that his kind heart will not keep him spiffy for long. My kids loved the last page of this book.
These two books were illustrated by Axel Scheffler, who has a bright, friendly style. Tyrannosaurus Drip’s illustrator is David Roberts, and although the Donaldson/Scheffler partnership feels perfect, I think Roberts gets this one just right. His dinosaurs are quirky and make me giggle. In this story, a duckbill egg ends up in a T-Rex nest. Since duckbills are peaceful plant-eaters, and T-Rexs are scary meat-eaters, Little Drip finds himself in quite a predicament. (And yes, he comes out of it a hero!)
In checking online, I found this Gruffalo website, which includes games and some little videos of Julia Donaldson and her husband singing a few songs based on her books. The Gruffalo was also made into a 30-minute animated movie for BBC television last holiday season, with a cast including Robbie Coltrane (in the title role) and Helena Bonham Carter. You can see a trailer here.