'The Gruffalo' - A Wonderful Donaldson and Scheffler Book for Children
'The Gruffalo' - Children's Favourite
Children's Favourite Book
On 19th October, 2010, the BBC announced: 'The Gruffalo has come out top in a survey of children's favourite books'.
This Julia Donaldson / Axel Scheffler book, originally published in 1999, won its place in a survey that was carried out for 'Booktrust's Gifting Scheme Booktime 2010'.
What age group is 'The Gruffalo' aimed at? ~ The children surveyed were aged between 4 and 11 years and were the offspring of over 1,500 parents. 'The Gruffalo', written by Julia Donaldson, and illustrated by Axel Scheffler, received eighteen per cent of the vote, while those achieving equal second place ~ 'The Very Hungry Caterpillar', by Eric Carle, and Ladybird's 'Peppa Pig' ~ each received 11% of the vote.
The parents of these children were also given the chance to vote. For 22% of them, the 'Mr Men' books came top. They, too, voted 'The Very Hungry Caterpillar' second (15%), with 'The Snowman', by Raymond Briggs, coming 3rd (8%).
Smarties and Blue Peter
The family site 'Angels & Demons' agrees with the verdict that it is the 'greatest children's book of all time', saying: 'WE THINK IT IS FANTASTIC'.
'The Observer' newspaper calls it "a modern classic".
It also won the 'Smarties Gold Medal Award' in 1999 and, in 2000, the 'Blue Peter Award for The Best Book to Read Aloud'.
'Smarties' are popular and delicious multi-coloured chocolate beans by Nestle.
'Blue Peter' is a long-running quality children's programme from the BBC, loved and respected by parents and teachers, as well as children.
Smarties and Blue Peter
According to 'The Guardian' newspaper: in November 2009 'The Gruffalo' was voted 'the nation's favourite bedtime story', by listeners to BBC Radio 2.
Indeed, 'The Gruffalo' has been a firm favourite in the UK for some time. In the year 2000, it was the best seller amongst children's picture books. It has sold millions of copies since publication.
On 20th April, 2010, Junior Magazine published a list of the 'top 100' children's books ~ as voted by their readers.
Their top 3:
1 'The Very Hungry Caterpillar' by Eric Carle
2 'The Gruffalo' by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler
3 'Where The Wild Things Are' by Maurice Sendak
So 'The Gruffalo' did very well then, too ~ despite strong competition from two other very popular children's books!
'The Gruffalo' has been sold world-wide and has been translated into thirty different languages, including ~ according to The Observer ~ 'Breton, Faroese, Gaelic and Lithuanian'.
The Mouse and the Gruffalo
What is 'The Gruffalo' about?
It's about a little mouse, who is invited to lunch by a number of other wild animals ~ but ... he is expected to be lunch!!! So he invents a mysterious ~ and monstrous ~ friend: the gruffalo.
And it works! His enemies do not eat him.
What the mouse does not expect is to walk right into the path of the very imaginary beast he has just described! And what the monster does not expect is that the creatures, who planned to eat the mouse, are now very scared of Mouse (Doesn't he realise that it is he who terrifies them?!) ~ so he becomes scared of him too.
The mouse outwits them all and survives to live another day ~ or more!
The story is told in rhyming couplets.
The Gruffalo In The Deep Dark Wood
Scheffler was, apparently, inspired by illustrations from history: He said that he 'had the idea of a monster in my head when I looked back through books on medieval drawings'. He added: 'I think this idea of a monster is quite old'.
The Snail and the Whale
The Snail and the Whale
Interestingly, in Donaldson~Scheffler follow-up books, there have been more 'gruffalos'! And I am not just talking about 'The Gruffalo's Child' ~ but in other books, as well.
He is disguised, so that he has to be found!!
Apparently, some years after finishing 'The Gruffalo' 'collaberation', Axel Scheffler was again working on one of Julia Donaldson's books ~ 'The Snail and the Whale'.
In this book, Scheffler decided that it might be a good idea for a child to be shown drawing a gruffalo in the sand.
That's what he did ~ and he has been doing something similar ever since. So each book has also become a game of 'Where's the gruffalo?'
The Gruffalo's Child
'The Gruffalo's Child'
But there is a specific 'Gruffalo' sequel ~ where the Gruffalo has a daughter: 'The Gruffalo's Child'.
Donaldson said: "I wanted the gruffalo's child to be a girl, and that probably was political correctness in a way, because I had been criticised for the fact that in The Gruffalo they were all male."
The author ~ Ms Donaldson ~ is an actress at heart
(she studied drama at Bristol
university) and she puts on performances of her books at
festivals and in schools. She felt that the BBC animation of the story (first shown
on BBC1, Christmas Day 2009) was 'quite scary'. It is a 30-minute adaptation of
her story, 'featuring the voices of Helena
Bonham Carter and Tom Wilkinson'.
According to Wikipedia, Donaldson was born in 1948. She enjoys folk tales and hopes to incorporate their 'mythic qualities' in her work. 'The Gruffalo' was inspired by a Chinese folk tale.
It was a long time, though, before the inspiration became the published article. First she kept the idea to herself, but, once planned, it took only two weeks to write. Then the book lay 'on a publisher's desk'. Finally, 'out of frustration, [Donaldson] sent it to Scheffler, a German illustrator with whom she had worked years earlier'.
The Gruffalo's Child
Axel Scheffler was born in 1957, in Hamburg, Germany and, after leaving a course in 'History of Art' at Hamburg University, he moved to England ~ and to the Bath Academy of Art, whence he graduated with a first class degree.
Scheffler lives in London and has worked for a number of German and English companies, illustrating books, magazines and newspapers ~ and he designed UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown's Christmas cards in 2006!
In truth, the author and illustrator don't actually 'collaborate' ~ they don't work together. Ms Donaldson writes the words and sends them to the publisher; the publisher then sends them to Mr Scheffler to illustrate.
The Frog and Toad Collection Box Set - by Arnold Lobel
Who is Julia Donaldson's favourite author?
When asked, she announced: "I love, love Arnold Lobel". She continued: "I wish he was better known here. He is like my god because in those frog and toad books he's so generous, so inventive. He manages to get about five cracking good ideas into one book and they're so funny ...".
She also says that: "One of my favourites is “Watership Down” by Richard Adams".
Julia Donaldson favours 'Watership Down' by Richard Adams.
Julia Donaldson loves Arnold Lobel
Sources - Julia Donaldson
I have found information about Julia Donaldson, her life and her work in different places. The parts about Julia Donaldson's life were partly from Ms Donaldson's website, but mainly from an article by Susanna Rustin, in The Guardian, on Saturday 19 December, 2009.
Julia Donaldson' married her doctor husband, Malcolm, whom she met at Bristol University, and they had three sons. Hamish, Alastair and Jerry. Sadly, Hamish suffered from 'schizoaffective disorder ... depression and psychosis and, in 2003, took his life, aged 25.'
"No Such Thing"
The 'Wild Things'?
According to the opinion of ‘Publishers Weekly’ (Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.):
‘The eponymous character introduced by this British team owes a large debt to Maurice Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are.’
Would Donaldson and Scheffler agree, I wonder?
'Where the Wild Things Are' is certainly very popular, too!
Wild Things and Gruffaloes???
See and Hear the Author and Illustrator
See and hear the author speaking ~ and singing about the gruffalo!
See and hear the illustrator speaking about his work ~ including drawing and painting the gruffalo
Newspaper Articles About 'The Gruffalo'
- Return of the Gruffalo | Books | The Guardian
Since it was first published in 1999, Julia Donaldson's The Gruffalo has become a much-loved bestseller. As the sequel, The Gruffalo's Child, hits bookshops, our expert panel, aged two to 10, give their
- Interview with Gruffalo author Julia Donaldson | Books | The Guardian
'I've acted the Gruffalo five billion times and I know it completely by heart, but I found the snake and things quite scary'
- Gruffalo, the monster we all love | UK news | The Observer
And now the man who drew the hairy character with the knobbly knees has designed Gordon Brown's Christmas card.
What Do Children Say About The Gruffalo?
If you want to know what children think of 'The Gruffalo' and 'The Gruffalo's Child':
'The Gruffalo - Narrated
A 'Family' of Gruffalo Books - And Other Items
Apart from the original story books of 'The Gruffalo' and 'The Gruffalo's Child', there is a whole family of additional, related books, plus alternative editions, including translations from the original English, and a new set of board books for babies and toddlers.
NB: Not all of the books will be available at all times.
Product descriptions, star ratings, age recommendations, reviews, etc, from Amazon(.)com
Note: ~ where an age recommendation is given for these items, it is usually 4 - 8 years
The Gruffalo in Translation
'The Gruffalo' has been translated from English into numerous other languages ~ at least thirty!
Naturally, these were intended for speakers of those languages, but, I would imagine that a humorous book, aimed at 4 to 8 year olds might serve well as a learning aid for older children, who might be learning a foreign language ~ as well as for bi-lingual children.
Perhaps an English version, in tandem with a translation?
A narrated version on CD might be particularly useful for those learning a foreign language ~ as well as for beginner readers of their own or a new language.
French Publisher: Gallimard
Spanish Publisher: Ediciones Castillo
German Publisher: Beltz
'The Gruffalo' in Paperback and Hardcover
The original paperback was published in January 1999, by Puffin Books. With 32 pages, it measured 10.4” x 8.3” x 0.1” This edition has one review on Amazon and received 5 stars.
It appears that ‘The Gruffalo’ was re-issued in March 2006. This one measures 10.5” x 7.9” x 0.2”. It has received106 reviews on Amazon. Ninety-nine reviewers gave it five stars out of five. Four gave it 4 stars. Two people gave it 3 stars and just one person gave it 2 stars.
In February 2009 the 32-page deluxe 10th Anniversary edition of ‘The Gruffalo’ was published, by MacMillan Children's, in paperback. Product Dimensions: 10.3” x 8.4” x 0.2”.
The hardback .......
This hardcover, published by 'Dial', in February 2005, also has 32 pages it measures 10.8 x 8.8 x 0.3 inches.
The Gruffalo Song Book
A special book for 'World Book Day' by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler
This paperback ~ a special book for 'World Book Day' ~ has 16 pages. This edition was published by Macmillan Children's Books in February 2001.
Size: 5.4" x 4.7" x 0.1"
The Gruffalo and Friends
Words and Music by Julia Donaldson
Here we have ~ according to Amazon ~ ‘six bestselling titles on CD’, which are 'performed by many well-loved actors, including Imelda Staunton, Josie Lawrence and the author herself - Julia Donaldson'
It was published by Pan MacMillan, in October 2005.
Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 5 x 1.3 inches.
There are two Amazon reviews at present ~ both give five out of five stars.
A quote from each:
"she [aged 6] absolutely adores the stories ..."
The Gruffalo Activity Book
This is a 16-page paperback,.
It was published by Pan MacMillan in June 2007
Size: 10.3" x 8.3" x 0.2"
'The Gruffalo' Colouring Book
The colouring book that accompanies the story book of ‘The Gruffalo’ was published by Pan MacMillan in July 2008. It is a paperback, with 24 pages, and it measures 10.4” x 8.3” x 0.22"
Gruffalo Pop-Up Theater Book
The Gruffalo Pop-up Theatre Book
The recommended reading ages for this item is 4-8 years. It is a 16-page hardcover book, published by MacMillan Children's Books on November 15, 2008.
It measures: 12.9" x 10.2" x 0.9".
Amazon recommends: '.. read the much-loved story (.. complete and unabridged) and .. open the pop-up stage to act out the adventures ..'
There is currently only one Amazon review, but it was given 5 stars out of five.
Edit: There is now  a second review, which recommends getting the hardback, because it is worth keeping ~ and that even teenagers will love it. It give four stars out of five.
The Gruffalo Party Pack
24-page hardcover, measuring 11.5" x 8.6" x 0.6" and published by Pan MacMillan in June 2009
The Amazon 'Product Description' reads:
'Learn how to host your very own Gruffalo Party with this brand new sticker activity book ...'
Apparently it has games, recipes and other activities, 'including invitations and thank you cards, Mouse masks, Owl and Snake decorations'.
'Party pack includes sticker activity book plus 20 sheets of colourful collage paper, 15 Gruffalo stencils and a 'Stick the Wart on the Gruffalo' game - all neatly packaged in a re-useable bag.'
There is only one Amazon customer review, giving three stars out of five. The reviewer suggests that, instead of buying this, you might want to 'use the gruffalo website to get free downloads' instead.
The Gruffalo Jigsaw Book
This is a 14-page board book for children aged 4-8 years.
It measures: 10.6 x 8.5 x 0.9 inches
This jig-saw book was published by Macmillan Children's Books in March 2004.
Amazon describes it as a '.. special novelty board book edition, including six twelve-piece jigsaw puzzles ..'
Audiobook ~ Audio Cassette
Read by Denica Fairman
Published by Macmillan Audio Books
Publication date: September 28, 2001
Gruffalo Song and Other Songs
Paperback Book plus CD ~ Note: This is not a narration of the book.
From Amazon: 'Julia Donaldson is a gifted songwriter for children. This volume contains nine of her best-loved songs, including "The Gruffalo", "A Squash and a Squeeze" and "Monkey Puzzle" .... Each score includes piano accompaniment and guitar chords'.
This 32-page paperback, published by Macmillan Children's Books in January 2006, measures 10.8" x 9.6" x 0.2".
There are 3 reviews on Amazon: one reviewer gives five stars out of five and the other two give only one star each.
E. Robertson, who gave it 5 stars, said: 'the description of this as an 'audio book' is a bit deceptive. It is a collection of nine of Julia Donaldson's wonderful children's songs with full musical notation for piano and guitar, whimsically illustrated by... Axel Scheffler.
'It includes a CD featuring Donaldson singing all the songs in her charmingly quirky untrained voice, accompanied by fine acoustic instruments'.
The other two reviews were much less complimentary.
To judge for yourself, you can hear a sample here:
The Gruffalo: Piano Solo
24-page Paperback, published February 2010
Author: Terry Davis : Publisher: Faber Music Ltd
'This easy piano book has a number of selected themes from' .. 'an animated [BBC] film [of 'The Gruffalo'] first shown on Christmas Day 2009'.
The Gruffalo's Child
In this sequel to the original 1999 book, the gruffalo has a daughter. Both books are aimed at 4- to 8-year-olds
Paperback, 32 pages, size: 10.6" x 6.8" x 0.2" inches ~ published by Puffin, March 2007
Hardcover, 32 pages, size: 10.7 x 8.3 x 0.3 inches ~ published by Dial, January 2005
The Star ratings from Amazon customers ~ out of five stars:
5 star - 16 reviewers; 4 star - 7 reviewers; 3 star - 1 reviewer
Jig Saw Board Books
The Gruffalo's Child Jigsaw Book
This is a board book, with 14 pages.
Size: 10.8 x 8.7 x 0.9 inches.
It was published by Pan MacMillan, in October 2006.
According to Amazon: 'Children will have hours of fun assembling six favourite scenes from the best-selling book, and reading the original story'.
'The Gruffalo Child' Audio Book
The Gruffalo's Child by Julia Donaldson
Unabridged Audible Audio Edition
Narrated by Imelda Staunton
To check availability and to listen to an excerpt, look here:
'The Gruffalo' Poster
Poster of the Gruffalo and the Mouse
Two companies are selling Gruffalo posters via Amazon:
Children's Poster - The Gruffalo - 91.5 x 61cm by 'Pyramid'.
The Gruffalo (Gruffalo and Mouse) Art Poster Print ~ 24 inches by 36 inches ~ by 'Poster Revolution'.
There are no Amazon customer reviews.
Check sizes and prices! * Check sizes and prices!
'The Gruffalo' Video
'The Gruffalo' video
Humans acting the parts
NB: NON-USA FORMAT
PAL, Region 2 Import - United Kingdom
Oh help! Oh, no! It's a ... Backpack by Shreds!
Amazon says: 'Shreds supplies top licensed character products designed to meet parent's practical requirements without forgetting the fun element for kids'
~ Blue and green in colour / color
~ The zip fastening allows for easy access to contents
~ Made from 100% nylon, the front is pvc-coated
~ There is a picture of the Gruffalo on the front, with his footprints on the back
~ It has adjustable webbed back-straps and carry handle in lime green
~ It is recommended for children aged 3 years
My First Gruffalo - Out June 2011
My First Gruffalo ~ new baby and toddler series:
According to the 'Product Description' on Amazon, this new set of educational board books for babies and toddler, based on 'The Gruffalo, is 'bold, bright and chunky' ~ and 'brilliant'. They each have 12 pages. The books are due for release on 6th May 2011.
There are four in this series of board books:
'My First Gruffalo: Animal Actions'
'My First Gruffalo: Numbers'
'My First Gruffalo: Colours'
'My First Gruffalo: Opposites'
In addition, there is also the 'bold, bright and portable buggy book' ~ also aimed at babies and toddlers: 'My First Gruffalo: Gruffalo, What Can You See?'
Like the other Gruffalo board books, this has 12 pages. It is due for release on 3rd June 2011.
The publisher of all of these board books is Macmillan Children's Books.
My First Gruffalo - Out May 2011
My First Gruffalo
MacMillans Children's Audio Edition - now out of print
If you wish to buy anything from sellers on the Internet, you should always check all details very carefully: prices, sellers, quality, descriptions, etc, etc.
I have tried to be as careful as possible, while writing up this information, but I may have made mistakes, or I may have misunderstood details.
Please note that I have not checked these items personally. I cannot take responsibility for any aspect of these products.
Animated 'Gruffalo' - BBC Christmas Trailer 2009
For More Information About 'The Gruffalo', Etc:
Some of the Julia Donaldson / Axel Sheffler books:
The Gruffalo's Child
The Snail and The Whale
A Squash and a Squeeze
Room on the Broom
Gruffalo Colouring / Coloring
Gruffalo Theatre / Theater
Children’s Books Written by Julia Donaldson:
The Gruffalo Colouring Book
The Snail and the Whale Activity Book
The Gruffalo's Child
Room on the Broom Activity Book
The Spiffiest Giant in Town
Charlie Cook's Favorite Book
Where's My Mom?
Fish Who Cried Wolf
What the Ladybug Heard
The Princess and the Wizard.
A Squash and a Squeeze
Sharing a Shell
Follow the Swallow
The Dinosaur's Diary
The Giants and the Joneses
Night Monkey Day Monkey
The Magic Paintbrush
Chocolate Mousse for Greedy Goose
The Gruffalo and Friends. Words and Music by Julia Donaldson
Postman Bear (Tales from Acorn Wood)
Spinderella (Blue Go Bananas)
One Mole Digging a Hole
The Quick Brown Fox Cub (Bananas)
The Wrong Kind Of Bark (Bananas)
Gruffalo. Pop-up Theatre Book
The Gruffalo Party Pack
What the Ladybird Heard.
The Princess Mirror-Belle Collection.
Fly, Pigeon, Fly!
One Ted Falls out of Bed
Charlie Cook's Favourite Book
Wriggle and Roar: Rhymes to Join in With
Running on the Cracks
Some books are illustrated by Axel Scheffler, and some by other artists
A number of titles are available in German. (See under Axel Scheffler)
Gruffalo Activity Book
Gruffalo's Child Jigsaw
More children’s books illustrated by Axel Scheffler:
Muddle Farm: A Magnetic Play Book
How to Keep a Pet Squirrel
Mother Goose's Storytime Nursery Rhymes
Proverbs from Far and Wide
Der Bär schreibt heute Briefe
Mother Goose's Bedtime Rhymes (Book & CD)
Wo steckt Mathilda Huhn
Riese Rick macht sich schick
Die Schnecke und der Buckelwal
Kaninchen ist sooo müde
Proverbs from Far and Wide: The Silent Beetle Eats the Seeds
Der Fuchs Sucht Seine Socken (German Edition)
Mein Haus ist zu eng und klein.
Das Lieblingsbuch von Benni Stern
Wo ist Mami?
Der magnetische Bauernhof.
Freddy der Frosch
Sam Plants a Sunflower: A Life-The-Flat Nature Book With Real Seeds (Lift-The-Flap Nature Books with Real Seeds)
Dschingel Dschangel Dschungel
Die Schnecke und der Buckelwal Puzzle-Buch
Wenn kleine Bären schlafen gehen. Ein Pop-up- Buch für Kinder.
Sam pflanzt Sonnenblumen
Ben und sein Schmetterlingsgarten.
Kati das Kätzchen
Rosie Plants a Radish: A Lift-The-Flap Natur Book With Real Seeds (Lift-The-Flap Nature Books with Real Seeds)
Lissi das Lämmchen
Sam und das Meer
Für Hund und Katz ist auch noch Platz.
Rosi pflanzt Radieschen.
Endlich allein zu Haus. Überlebenstipps für Kinder.
Lieschen Radieschen und der Lämmergeier
Henri das Hündchen
Mother Goose's Playtime Rhymes. Illustrated by Axel Scheffler
Sound Button Buggy Buddies: Freddy the Frog
Mother Goose's Action Rhymes