This month, the book of the month is The Gruffalo. In our monthly visit to the library, Azlan picked it up. Even though I wasn’t thrilled with the choice but I went along (had no choice because he insisted upon this one). I think Alzan liked it because it had animals on its cover and which child is not fascinated by animals- especially the big scary types.
Initially, the book did not appeal to me because it is smaller in size than many of the usual Children’s story books. And also the illustrations were not very modern.
What I did not know that this is a Children Classic. It has won quite a few awards including The Nestlé Smarties Prize and the Blue Peter Award for The Best Book to Read Aloud. The Gruffalo was also voted the UK’s favorite bedtime story in 2009.
And in the last week, it has also become our favorite bedtime story.
The Gruffalo Review
The best part of the book is that the story has a very rhyme-like quality. The author uses simple sentences that are very easy to remember. After reading the story a few times, both Azlan and I remember many of the lines. We say them aloud sometimes:
It’s a Gruffalo!
He has knobbly knees,
And turned out toes,
And a poisonous wart at the end of his nose.
The story also uses repetitive sentences which is genius for a children book. Azlan loves the repetitive sentences which make it easier for him to remember. So, when I am reading the book, he says them with me.
“A Gruffalo? What’s a Gruffalo?”
“A Grufallo! Why, didn’t you know?”
Even though the sentences look simple and memorable, I know for sure that the writer spent hours creating these catchy rhymes.
No children story book is complete without illustrations. And the same is true for The Gruffalo. The illustrations also are very beautiful. Since I and I am sure most children love rich colors, the book is very aesthetically pleasing.
Even though there is no such thing as a Gruffalo, Axel Scheffler has created a very believable rendering of the character. If I were to illustrate the character, I would have created a very childish version of the monster since his eyes are orange, his tongue is black and he has purple prickles all over his back. But Scheffler has made him look like a bear so that for children it is familiar and yet a fantasy.
The concept is inspired by a Chinese tale. In the tale, it is a girl who tricks a tiger into believing that she is the Queen of the Jungle instead of the mouse. But Julia Donaldson adapted the story to create a more rhyme like story.
My only objection is that the storybook is too small. I would love a bigger storybook with bigger fonts. Right now, the fonts are too small. But I am sure there must be bigger sizes for the book.
Despite this, I would definitely recommend (more like insist) the book to everyone and the reason I made this Book of the Month. Apparently, the book is so famous, it has its own website.
Author: Julia Donaldson
Illustrator: Axel Scheffler
Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Book
Publication Date: 1999
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Children Book of the Month: The Gruffalo