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The Gruffalo By Julia Donaldson, Illustrated by Axel SchefflerThe Gruffalo is a wonderful story, all written in rhyme, which tells the story of a quick thinking mouse who keeps preventing himself from being eaten, by warning his predators of this rather fearsome hungry creature – the gruffalo. Of course, as the mouse says, there is ‘no such thing as a gruffalo!’

The story has a recurring theme as the mouse meets a series of different animals who all tell him that he is good enough to eat. Each time the mouse replies that it’s awfully kind but he is having a feast with the gruffalo! Unsurprisingly no one knows what the gruffalo is like so the mouse starts and continues to build on an amazing description – terrible tusks, terrible teeth and terrible claws, knobbly knees, a poisonous wart on the end of his nose and so on! As you can imagine the gruffalo is sounding pretty scary!

Each time he is talking to a different animal he changes what he says the gruffalo’s favourite food is – when talking to the owl it is owl icecream and when talking to the snake it is scrambled snake! Each time the graphic description and the mention of the favourite dish has the desired effect and the mouse is allowed to go on his way. As he goes he laughs to himself because ‘there’s no such thing as a gruffalo!’

So it’s all going very well until all of a sudden our little mouse comes across a very strange creature with terrible teeth and knobbly knees, etc … Yes you’ve guessed – it is a gruffalo! The gruffalo takes one look at the little mouse and declares that he would taste very good on a slice of bread! Time for some more quick thinking! So the mouse squares up to the gruffalo and tells him that it’s not a very good idea because he (the mouse) is the scariest creature in the wood and to prove it he gets the creature to follow him. Of course, when the other animals spot them they all run away! The gruffalo believes it is because of the mouse so begins to get a bit nervous especially when the mouse says that his favourite dish is gruffalo crumble! That’s the final straw and the gruffalo runs off leaving the mouse to enjoy the peace and quiet of the wood.

Both my daughters really love this book. They have active imaginations at the moment, so they love the way the mouse describes the gruffalo, and often have some ideas of their own to add. They also get the joke that the mouse plays – realising that it is really the gruffalo that all the other animals are afraid of and not the mouse! Also, they like the way that the little mouse is so brave and does not just give into his enemies.

As I said at the beginning, this book is written all in rhyme which works really well. Having read it a few times, my daughter is very keen to complete the rhyme and she is becoming very good at it. Also because there is quite a predictable pattern in the story she is able to join in with a lot of the words, and also enjoys anticipating what is going to come next.

The illustrations in the book are excellent – they all match the words on the page particularly the description of the gruffalo. However even though the gruffalo is meant to be pretty scary, because the illustration is quite amusing, it is not off putting to little children. The illustrator is Axel Scheffler, who I think has illustrated most, if not all, of Julia Donaldson’s books. This is good, because all the books have a certain familiar feel to them.

Overall this is a fantastic book for small children that is likely to become a firm favourite very quickly!

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Gruffalo (The)
by Julia Donaldson,Axel Scheffler

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Written by kingfisher

My name is Jo and I have been married to Simon for nine years. We have two beautiful daughters – Rachel who is six and Natalie who is almost five and starting school in January. I also have two step children aged twenty one and seventeen so family life is never dull. I also manage to work three days for a local education authority where I support the teaching of literacy in primary schools. I love my job and it’s ideal for a book lover like me. In my spare time I run, dance and occasionally tread the boards with my local amateur dramatics group. My first love is reading though and you will never find me without a book on the go. My husband is also an avid reader and we are hoping to pass on our love of reading to our daughters. They certainly love their bedtime stories every night. Although I have and English degree and I am familiar with most of the classics, I generally read much lighter stuff these days. It’s mainly ‘chic lit’ but I also enjoy a good thriller or courtroom drama. I have so many favourite authors and this list tends to change regularly depending on what I am reading.

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