Julia Donaldson,Axel Scheffler, The Gruffalo Reviews

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Julia Donaldson,Axel Scheffler, The Gruffalo
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Latest Reviews

“Brilliant book. I'm new to it, only discovered it...”

★★★★★

written by probooklover on 27/04/2009

Brilliant book. I'm new to it, only discovered it after reading this article where Julie Donaldson talks to Axel Sheffler - the illustrator responsible for The Gruffalo - http://www.wbqonline.com/feature.do?featureid=273

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“i loved The Gruffalo,Its very funny, and so did the...”

★★★★★

written by on 21/02/2009

i loved The Gruffalo,Its very funny, and so did the children as i work in a playwork setting!

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“My daughter (her dad & I) love this story so much we...”

★★★★★

written by on 06/11/2008

My daughter (her dad & I) love this story so much we have now bought many more Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler books and all are brilliant.

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“I work with children from 2 up and they love 'The...”

★★★★★

written by on 09/10/2008

I work with children from 2 up and they love 'The Gruffalo', i haven't found one that doesn't. They love repeating all the words and looking to see what animal it is. I've ended up reading it every story time because they love it so much! Worth every penny.

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“Julie Donaldson, Axel Scheffler, The Gruffalo; a...”

★★★★★

written by SuffolkShopper on 18/01/2008

Julie Donaldson, Axel Scheffler, The Gruffalo; a charming and engaging story written in iambic pentameter it's fun to read and a kid's favourite.

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“So the mouse outwits the woodland creatures even the...”

★★★★★

written by bml88 on 22/02/2007

So the mouse outwits the woodland creatures even the scary Gruffalo. The rhyme scheme works really well and the story has a great completeness about it. The illustrations really work - this is a classic.

This is a fab book - it's never too early to buy for your children - this became my son's favourite book when he had just turned one - OK he couldn't read it but he loved the pictures and hearing the story - Tip - buy the hardback version if you are buying for very little ones.

Say the last two lines in a whisper.

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“Fox, Owl and Snake all try and entice the mouse into...”

★★★★★

written by andyv on 07/09/2006

Fox, Owl and Snake all try and entice the mouse into what could be a trap - but the mouse is just too clever - the kids love it. Try reading The Griffalo with different voices for each of the animals - do it once and they do not forget! I always found the mouse was a little bit camp, the snake had a lisp, the fox was a bit "noel coward" and the owl twit-twooed his way through.

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“What a wonderful book! The mouse is a cunning little...”

★★★★★

written by stopchurchill on 22/03/2006

What a wonderful book! The mouse is a cunning little creature- unlikely hero. Who manages to scare a big gruffalo away by convincing him that all the other animal in the wood are afraid of him- in actual fact they are afraid of the Gruffalo standing behind him!!!!

Work of genius. This is a bedtime tale that will never tire!!!!

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“"A MOUSE TOOK A STROLL THROUGH A DEEP DARK WOOD. ”

★★★★★

written by quiltedcamel on 26/01/2006

"A MOUSE TOOK A STROLL THROUGH A DEEP DARK WOOD.
A FOX SAW THE MOUSE AND THE MOUSE LOOKED GOOD"

We bought The Gruffalo some time ago, and from the start it was a hit with little lady.

Having recently bought tickets for the live theatre production, it has once again become a "must read every night" book, and I for one, am not complaining.

**THE STORY**

The story follows the adventures of a little mouse who goes for a walk "through the deep dark wood", and meets up with a fox, who invites him to have lunch with him. Clever mouse declines (WE know he is the favourite snack for all of these forest creatures) and tells fox that he is going for lunch with a gruffalo. He goes on to describe the gruffalo "He has terrible tusks and terrible claws and terrible teeth in his terrible jaws". A frightening description for fox, especially when mouse adds that the gruffalo's favourite food is "roasted fox"
Exit fox, and on walks mouse, commenting as he goes "doesn't he know, there's no such thing as a gruffalo?"
Next animal who fancies a bit of mouse for tea is owl, who cleverly invites mouse to his treetop house for tea.
Again, the repetitive text whilst mouse declines this kind offer, telling owl he is meeting a gruffalo with "knobbly knees and turned-out toes and a poisonous wart on the end of his nose" oh, and not forgetting, what gruffalo most likes to dine on is owl ice cream.
Exit owl, and, as mouse walks on he comments "doesn't he know there's no such thing as a gruffalo?"
By this stage of the story, children who have heard it before are shouting that there IS a gruffalo, and children for whom it is the first reading are beginning to realize that there is a pattern to the story, and have usually memorized the repetitive text.

Back to mouse, who is still wandering through that wood, and what a perilous journey it is becoming. Next, he meets snake, who asks him for a feast (what a popular mouse); mouse may be small but he is wise, and realizes snake's game. He tells snake that he is meeting a gruffalo whose "eyes are orange, tongue is black, with purple prickles all over his back". And yes, you've guessed it.. his favourite meal is scrambled snake. EEK!! Poor snake slithers off, but how silly, "Doesn't he know, There's no such thing as a gruffal...
OH"

As mouse stops and looks, he sees a creature EXACTLY as he described the gruffalo to the other animals, and he is worried.
Time for some fast thinking when the creature spots the mouse and tells him that his favourite food is mouse on a piece of toast.
Mouse is quick and clever and the children love this! He tells gruffalo that all of the animals in the wood are afraid of him, which of course the gruffalo finds more than a tad amusing, but decides to follow mouse and test out the theory.
They meet up with, in turn, snake, owl and fox, all the animals who wanted to eat mouse.
However, when they see mouse with the gruffalo, the mouse's original story is confirmed... he IS friends with this terrible creature.
Time to beat a hasty exit!!
When the gruffalo is satisfied that mouse is in fact the scariest creature in the wood, mouse terrifies him further by telling him that HIS favourite food is gruffalo crumble.
Another hasty retreat, this time by the gruffalo, leaving the mouse alone.
"All was quiet in the deep dark wood.
The mouse found a nut and the nut was good"

Fabulous story.

**ILLUSTRATIONS**

Axel Scheffler has worked with Julia Donaldson on most of her successful books and has won many prizes for his illustrations, which is highly justifiable.
I liked the illustrations from the start... The front cover shows a little mouse walking innocently past a gruesome creature. This is where this book moves from a great story written in rhyming couplets to a superb picture book; the pictures match the text and almost tell their own story.
All of the illustrations are quite simply drawn, with a black line around and simple, quite muted colours - quite "innocent" drawings - children believe they could copy them... This is how they draw, with a pencil, and then fill in the object.

Throughout the book, the little mouse is seen only from the side, and all we can see is one white eye, and there is his little white tummy, and there, for contrast, is the gruffalo, a truly scary creature.

It was little lady who noticed that when he is telling lies, he always closes his eye... have a look, and yes, he does. When I have pointed this out to children, they think it is so that he is not "found out".

There is a sense of vastness about the forest with no clearly defined ending place, leaving children wondering how big it is, and often worrying that the mouse might get lost.
This largeness is contrasted with the small very detailed pictures of the gruffalo's physical characteristics; these small drawings are used when the mouse is describing the gruffalo. I have used this type of drawing to ask children to draw various creatures... we get all of the specifics and then make it into one big picture.



**PUBLISHER**
My copy is published by Macmillan (1999) but I have seen it published in board book form by Campbell Books

**ISBN**
1 4050 0518 1

**WEBSITE**

The Gruffalo has his/her very own website!
www.gruffalo.com
Great site and very child friendly. Play games on line, read about the Gruffalo and join the Gruffalo Gang.

For performance details, check out
www.tallstories.org.uk
This site has information on where the story is being staged, and there is a video of the play which has been produced by Andrew Lloyd Webber's Really Useful Company


**OTHER BOOKS BY JULIA DONALDSON**

Julia Donaldson has written several excellent books for children. These are some of my favourites
One Ted Falls Out of Bed
Rosie's Hat
Sharing a Shell
The Magic Paintbrush
Chocolate Mousse for Greedy Goose
Night Monkey Day Monkey
A Squash and a Squeeze
Monkey Puzzle
Room on The Broom
The Gruffalo's Child
The books tend to be rhyming and appeal to a wide age range of children.

**HIT OR MISS?**
An excellent book, which little miss loves and will join in with all of the words - in fact, she can read the story to me now, especially because the pictures are such a perfect match for the text.

When children first meet the gruffalo, depending on their age, they can be terrified; look closely, I was told by a 5 year old - his teeth are blunt! This takes the fear away, and I always think he looks quite a sad creature.

The rhyming, repetitive text makes it easy for young children to learn the text, and so gain confidence and enjoyment of the text.
I do a lot of work on emotional learning and have used this to discuss heroes and tricksters. Children find the mouse a lovable rogue, and want to think of ways they could outwit the gruffalo. The lies the mouse tells make perfect sense to children; it is a question of survival, and what would they say if they were being bullied? Probably much the same as the mouse, although more along the lines of "I'll bring my dad/big brother". Great book to read alongside "The Three Billy Goats Gruff" - they each have a big friend.

We like the fact that the mouse is victorious and outwits even the biggest of creatures.

Just an idea, which I tried out yesterday - ask the children to imagine what would be said and what would happen if the mouse had met other animals on his journey. This encouraged lots of discussion, such as what animals they could meet (is there a hippo in a wood?), and the 8 and 9 year olds wrote brilliant rhyming couplets.

Act it out, read it for fun, look at the pictures, point out the rhyme, but whatever you do, enjoy.

I truly believe this will be a classic!!

Thanks for reading.

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“A mouse took a stroll through the deep dark wood ”

★★★★★

written by rappinhood on 23/08/2005

A mouse took a stroll through the deep dark wood
A fox saw the mouse and the mouse looked good

This is the start of the popular children's story written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Alex Scheffler.

Plot:
A mouse goes for a walk in the woods. He meets an owl, a snake and a fox, who invite him for lunch. The mouse wisely suspects that he might be the main course and refuses, saying that he's lunching with the gruffalo. He describes some of the gruffalo's more offputting features to the animals and manages to continue his walk until, to his surprise, he comes face to face with the real gruffalo, who wants to eat him. The mouse then uses a bit of ingenuity to attempt to save his skin.

Book description
The book comes in lots of varieties. There is a 24 page board book (which is the one I have and which retails at £4.99) and a large format paperback book, similar to others in the series. The front cover shows a picture of the mouse and the gruffalo and there are colourful illustrations on very page, not just of the main characters, but of their homes and surroundings, providing plenty for both children and adults to look at. The style of illustration is a bit strange (lots of bulging eyes and faces) but the animals are recognisable and you soon get used to it.

Rhyme time
The story is told in rhyming verse. As with most children's book, there is repetition of the essential elements as the mouse encounters each animal and by the third reading, my daughter was able to fill in the words at the end of each line (wood/good; mouse/house; no/gruffalo) as well as to fill in the parts of the gruffalo's body described in the early part of the story. A year later, she's repeating whole phrases and it probably won't be long till she knows the story by heart.

But will they learn anything?
It's a very good story, but there are also educational elements as well, if that's what you want. While reading this story, your offspring can learn the names and living spaces of the different animals, as well as parts of the body and colours.

What we thought
For a short time (two year olds can be quite fickle) it was my daughter's favourite story, which had to be read at least five times a day. Even now, a year later, it is a story she requests regularly.

I love this story too and never get tired of reading it (which is perhaps just as well). It's great fun to read aloud because of the rhymes and the voices you can do for the different animals. The cleverness of such a small creature is also attractive to small readers. This is a story that is destined to be on our bookshelf for quite a while. I look forward to the day when my daughter can read it to me.

Beyond the Gruffalo
There is a sequel, The Gruffalo's Child (£4.79), which I haven't read yet, but is on my daughter's birthday list., as well as an audiobook titled The Gruffalo Song (£3.59).

My daughter and I loved the story so much that we were delighted when she received a couple of other books by the pair: The Snail and the Whale and Monkey Puzzle. I've also bought The Smartest Giant in Town and have A Squash and a Squeeze and Room on the Broom firmly in my sights. All of them are great stories and are available from Amazon at around £4.79 and many have audiobooks and other add-ons to go with them.

Julia Donaldson has also written books illustrated by others (a search on Amazon brought up 214 hits, so I won't attempt to list them) and I'll be looking out for those as well.

Bottom line
The Gruffalo is suitable for all ages and has everything you would want in a book, whether for adults or children: great characters, good plot and a twist in the tale. Don't miss it.

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“The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson and Axel Schffler is...”

★★★★★

written by jenko1 on 29/05/2005

The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson and Axel Schffler is easy for children to remember, in fact after reading it to my daugther she remembered the whole story and she is only 2 years old.

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200745_Cretanhoney's Response to jenko1's Review

Written on: 06/07/2005

I agree, The Gruffalo is an absolutely wonderful book.

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