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The Gruffalo

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The Gruffalo
Author: Julia Donaldson
Illustrator: Axel Scheffler
Published: 23 March 1999
Country: United Kingdom
ISBN: 0-333-71093-2
Pages: 32
Genre: Picture book
Followed by: The Gruffalo's Child
The Gruffalo

‘The Gruffalo’ By Julia Donaldson Julia Donaldson has created a number of famous titles that many children are familiar with. She is best known for her picture books.  ‘A gruffalo? What’s a gruffalo?’ The story about a little mouse that is walking through the dark forest, encounters a number of animals that want to eat him as a tasty meal. The clever mouse explains to the animals that the mouse is on its way to meet ‘The Gruffalo’, and its favourite food is the animal that is trying to steal the mouse for a meal. It is not until towards the end of the story that this mouse realises that this imaginary creature is actually true! ‘The Gruffalo’ is a great book to read to children between the ages of 3-5, Julia enables the children to create an image of this mystical creature throughout the story. It is a funny, brightly coloured and interactive book. It can be a focus for many activities e.g. creating your own creature/thinking about adjectives to create your own mystical creature.

Description

A fox saw the mouse and the mouse looked good.
"Where are you going to, little brown mouse?
Come and have tea in my underground house."
"It's terribly kind of you, Fox, but no –
I'm going to have lunch with the Gruffalo."

The mouse then describes the Gruffalo's sharp teeth, and so on, and frightens the Fox away. He then says:

"Silly old Fox, doesn't he know? There's no such thing as a Gruffalo!"

But what will happen if a real Gruffalo turns up?

The Characters you will meet...

  • The Mouse
    100362-The-Gruffalo-1

    A DVD of the Academy Award-nominated short film adaptation

  • The Fox
  • The Owl
  • The Snake
  • The Gruffalo

Reader's Reviews

1

A charming picture book, which fully deserves all its plaudits. The 30-minute animation, first broadcast at Christmas 2009, is excellent. It really sticks to the book – I only wish more TV programs would!

2

This is a thoroughly enjoyable book to read aloud to a young child. The pictures are attractive, but it's the effective use of rhyme that really raises the book above many others. The language is very carefully thought out - each page is beautifully simple, and so easy to read aloud with feeling. The theme of fear of gently developed, and cleverly dissipated with humour: who will forget the 'Gruffalo crumble'? Your son or daughter will soon be quoting some of the best lines: "Its eyes are orange, its tongue is black; it has purple prickles all over his back."

3

My two young boys love this book. It has just the right amounts of silly, scary, and adventure. The timing and cadence make it fun to read aloud. I highly recommend this for kids ages 5–8.

4

The Gruffalo is written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler. It is a brilliantly written rhyming story, with repetition and has a great deal of expression within the speech.

It is about a mouse that goes for a walk in the woods frightening the other animals away by saying the he is going to have lunch with a ‘gruffalo’, who he has made up just to scare them. The mouse describes the Gruffalo as having “terrible tusks, and terrible claws, and terrible teeth in his terrible jaws”. After scaring the animals, the mouse always says “didn’t he know, there’s no such thing as a gruffalo”. Until he comes across a real gruffalo and goes on to show the gruffalo that he, the mouse, is the scariest creature in the wood.

This is a funny book which will appeal to children of all ages and I think that adults will enjoy reading it to them. From looking at the book, you may think that children will be frightened of the monster, the gruffalo, but it is very well written so that the gruffalo is in fact not a scary character, and is scared of the mouse in the end!

The illustrations in the book go with the written text brilliantly and really set the story alive for children who enjoy looking at pictures to accompany their imagination. The language used in the book is suitable for children as young as 2 to understand and is appropriate for primary school children to read aloud. As well as this book being a great asset in a classroom for literacy, it provides many other cross-curricular benefits as children could use it as the basis of a drama activity, or as part of an art lesson where children can create their own monsters. Although this book is suitable for children from 2 to 8, I think it would be particularly useful for children in Foundation stage or Year 1 introducing them to rhyming books and enabling them to relate to characters in stories providing many reading and writing opportunities.

One of many fantastic books by Julia Donaldson!

5

A well written rhyming book by Julia Donaldson which is suitable for all young learners. The wood is brought to life by a little mouse who takes a stroll through the deep dark woods; along the way he meets many dangerous creatures whom he scares off by the creation of an imaginary creature. Imagine the mouse’s surprise when he bumps into the Gruffalo! The Gruffalo is a must for any household with young children and holds children’s attention through the use of rhyme and repetition. It is very colourful and the pages are brought to life by the fantastic illustrations of Axel Scheffler. There are lots of online resources available to support this book.


The Gruffalo <p style="margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt;">The Gruffalo is a children’s picture book aimed at younger children, specifically the book would seem most suited to children between the ages of two and seven. The book is written by Julia Donaldson and accompanied with illustration by Axel Scheffler. His illustrations are lively, colourful and help the subject of the story to not be intimidating to younger children in any way.


The Gruffalo story follows a clever mouse and his journey through the “deep dark wood”. During his journey he encounters many predators intent on eating him; however, the mouse uses cunning to scare them away. The mouse claims he is on his way to have lunch with a fearful creature called the Gruffalo, “And favourite food is scrambled snake.” The mouse then encounters the Gruffalo, a potentially daunting character, however the cunning mouse presents himself as the scariest animal in the woods and, following another eventful stroll, scares the Gruffalo at the mention of his favourite food “Gruffalo crumble.” The use of humour throughout the book is a dominant theme and helps to deflate any potentially scary moments throughout he book.


The dominate theme in the book is the moral of the smallest using intelligence to overcome the brawny and intimidating; a lesson children of all ages can relate to. Rhyme is used consistently and repletion frequently by Donaldson. These features make the book wonderful to read with younger children as the rhyme and repetition make it very memorable. The wide use of descriptive vocabulary, “his terrible teeth in his terrible jaws” will encourage children to start to use description and also improve their vocabulary. For older children, techniques such as alliteration and assonance are introduced.


The book could be highly beneficial as an educational tool, predominantly in the foundation stages and key stage one. The woodland setting of the book could encourage lessons on nature where children could even create their own Gruffalo forest in outside areas of a school. The pictures make the book accessible to children to read without being literate as the pictures follow the written parts of the story accurately. The illustrations also allow young children to use their imagination, this could be developed into an art class, designing their own Gruffalo or simply painting him.



‘The Gruffalo’ by Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler

This book is a child’s favourite about a mouse that goes on a walk through the woods on his way to meet for lunch with the Gruffalo. Along his way he meets several animals who also invite him for lunch. After the mouse explains that he already has plans he describes to each of them who the Gruffalo is and what he looks like. The book includes some great descriptions of the Gruffalo… “He has knobbly knee, and turned out toes and a poisonous wart at the end of his nose.” The story ends with a comical twist which children love!

The story has fantastic illustrations in which children thoroughly enjoy looking at. The book uses lots of repetition that engages and includes the children in storytelling. The book can be used as a basis for a class topic in which children are able to think up their own descriptions of the Gruffalo, discuss the animals used and create their own storyboard to show their interpretations of the narrative.


“A mouse took a stroll, through the deep dark wood. A fox saw the mouse and the mouse looked good.” Donaldson invites us to walk further into the deep dark wood and walk the adventure along with the quick thinking mouse.

The imagination of Donaldson is captured with the descriptive words, amazing pictures, bright and colourful. The expression of the animals helps the reader to relate to the characters in the book and imagine how they are feeling. This book is great to use with children why not let them create their own gruffalo’s, act out the story in drama or create their own adventure stories. Rhyme and verse are used in this book helping children to familiarise themselves with this style. A must read one of Donaldson’s many great books.

Parental Guidance

  • Reading Age: 4+
  • Reading Aloud Age: 3+

Clean.

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External links

References

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