The Gruffalo’s Child is just the right amount of scary to make a small child snuggle in close – but not be too scared to go to bed! And it’s fantastic for early readers. The sequel to The Gruffalo introduces the Gruffalo’s child, whose curiosity sees her set off to find for herself, the legendary big, bad mouse.
All three of my children love this book, and I do too. I find rhyme in children’s books can too often be clunky or contrived, with some words included only because they rhyme, without adding to the story. That’s not the case with The Gruffalo’s Child. Award-winning Scottish author Julia Donaldson uses rhyme and repetition beautifully as the Gruffalo’s child journeys through the wood, with the language creating drama and suspense while also helping emerging readers to predict what comes next: “The snow fell fast and the wind blew wild. “I’m not scared,” said the Gruffalo’s child”. The repetition doesn’t feel repetitive, woven through the story and changed up enough to keep it interesting. I especially like how the words “Aha” and “Oho” are used throughout the book – great words for toddlers just beginning to talk to be able to join in and “read” too.
My Little Man asks for the book again and again, but likes to snuggle in close and safe with mum or dad while it’s read. It’s a little scary for a two-year-old, but the main character’s expedition has an amusing outcome, and – thanks to the wonderful illustrations – my boy totally gets it! If you’re worried about the scariness, don’t be. The story finishes with the Gruffalo’s child ending up back where she started – safe at home with the Gruffalo.
This is a great kid’s book and I’d recommend reading it to children from about aged two to early primary school.
If you’re in Brisbane, you can also take your little ones to see a musical adaptation of The Gruffalo’s Child at the QUT Garden’s Theatre from June 9-12. Brisbane Kids has all the details or you can book tickets online.
This book kids love is written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler. 32pp. Published in Great Britain by Puffin Books, 2007. ISBN: 9780142407547.