This review is part of Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Book series. Visit her site to see the other books recommended.
Title: The Gruffalo
Author: Julia Donaldson
Illustrator: Axel Scheffler
Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Books, 1999
Suitable for: Ages 4 – 8
Themes: Humor, Irony, Thinking on your feet
A mouse took a stroll through the deep dark wood.
A fox saw the mouse and the mouse looked good.
“Where are you going to, little brown mouse?
Come and have lunch in my underground house.”
“It’s terribly kind of you, Fox, but no–
I’m going to have lunch with a gruffalo.”
A sneaky mouse outwits various forest animals who are anxious to gobble him up by scaring them off with tales of the ferocious gruffalo. But what will the mouse do when the gruffalo actually shows up?
Activities: Visit the Gruffalo Activity Site for games, coloring sheets, and more.
Why I Like This Book:
This is just a great, fun read-aloud book. The rhyming text and meter is pitch-perfect. Descriptions of the gruffalo are reminiscent of the monsters in “Where the Wild Things Are”. Younger kids will enjoy the colorful light-hearted illustrations and the repetitive lines for each encounter with a predator. Older readers will enjoy seeing the mouse outwit the other animals and being in on the joke, as well as the irony that the gruffalo really exists!
I read this book to a Kindergarten class and had them show me their terrible claws and their terrible tongues, which they loved. They also enjoyed the repetitiveness and were finishing some of the lines for me.