Last month, we recorded a cute little animated television special called The Gruffalo. Z watched it quite often and thought it was great. Then I accidentally deleted it from the DVR. After a bit of panicking when I found that it was not available on DVD, I realized that it was just an animation straight from a picture book -- The Gruffalo, written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler. Of course we quickly put a hold on the book at the library and decided to grab the sequel, The Gruffalo's Child, as well. And while I was looking for The Gruffalo, I came across another title by Donaldson/Scheffler that I thought Z would love, The Snail and the Whale. He ended up getting that one for Christmas from his aunt and uncle! So now we had three books in the house that Z was reading all of the time and so on our last library trip we couldn't resist grabbing two more books by this author/illustrator duo -- Charlie Cook's Favorite Book and The Fish Who Cried Wolf. All written in verse, these stories present such great topics as self-esteem, quick thinking, literacy and honesty.
The verse in this book is great for reading aloud and there's an element of suspense which most children love. The illustrations are fantastic as well.
The Gruffalo's Child stars the daughter of the gruffalo who has been told the story of the scary mouse by her parent. One night, she decides to set out and track down this mouse. She also comes across the snake, owl and fox before finding the mouse. How will the mouse keep from getting eaten by this new gruffalo?
Though the humpback whale would probably not have survived the beaching in real life, this is thankfully a children's story that is not preaching the evils of personal watercraft but instead teaching about finding your own strengths and putting them to good use. I love the colors in this story and Z loves all of the animals.
I love the idea that every story can lead to another one and maybe not in obvious ways. Z likes this one quite a bit as well though I haven't asked him what draws him in to it.
The final book is The Fish Who Cried Wolf which has awkward verse and a strange story and neither Z or I have connected with it very well. It's the story of a fish who is a bit of a fibber so when he tells a whopper, the other little fish don't believe him. The strange thing though is that his story-telling actually helps him out at one point so I'm not sure the moral is quite clear. The one thing Z did like in this book is that Scheffler snuck in a "gruffalo fish" on one page!
We're glad to have finally discovered Donaldson, who appears to be quite popular in the UK. She has other books with Scheffler and some with other illustrators as well so we will have to keep exploring this fun new-to-us author.
Enjoying some gruffalo crumble,
K and Z
Support our site and buy The Gruffalo, The Gruffalo's Child, The Snail and the Whale, Charlie Cook's Favorite Book and Fish Who Cried Wolf on Amazon or find them at your local library. We borrowed some of these from the library and own one of them.