The Gruffalo

Common Sense Media says

Clever mouse puts brains to work in this children's classic.

Age(i)

2
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4
5
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7
8
9
10
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13
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17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Educational value

This is a classic children's book that reads very much like a fable. Parents can use this opportunity to explain what a fable is and perhaps explore stories with similar morals.

Positive messages

Kids get the message that might doesn't always make right as a clever mouse outsmarts predators much bigger than he is.

Positive role models

Kids will have no trouble rooting for the little mouse who uses his brain to outsmart would-be predators.

Violence & scariness

The mouse is threatened repeatedly by a series of animals who want to
eat him -- from a fox to an owl to the gruffalo himself. But he never
looks afraid, and kids likely won't worry about his fate.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this classic children's book teaches kids that might doesn't always make right as a clever mouse outsmarts predators much bigger than he is. The mouse is threatened repeatedly by a series of animals who want to
eat him -- from a fox to an owl to the gruffalo himself. But he never
looks afraid, and kids won't really worry about his fate. Kids will have no trouble rooting for the little mouse who uses his brain to outsmart would-be predators.

Parents say

Kids say

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What's the story?

A little mouse walking through the woods encounters a series of would-be predators, but he scares them off by telling them that he's on his way to meet a fierce gruffalo ("His eyes are orange. His tongue is black. He has purple prickles all over his back.") But after escaping a fox, an owl, and a snake, the mouse actually comes face to face with the creature from his imagination. 

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

The short rhymes and their repetitive structure make THE GRUFFALO a fun book to read aloud. It's true that the mouse is constantly in peril: he's threatened repeatedly by a series of animals who want to
eat him -- from a fox to an owl to the gruffalo himself -- but kids won't really worry about his fate. Instead, they'll be impressed with his composure and cleverness. And even with his spiky back and black tongue, the gruffalo manages to look more silly than truly terrifying. Parents, get ready: Your kids are going to want you to read this one again and again -- and they might enjoy the animated special based on the book, too.

The illustrator uses vibrant colors to create the mouse (and gruffalo's!) forest world. His cartoons are all set in the daytime -- so the illustrations never feel ominous. He has been quoted as saying that his original gruffalo was too terrifying -- but readers will be sure to find the final version more silly than scary.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about fables. Do you know what a fable is? What do you think the moral of this story is?

  • The gruffalo is obviously a made-up creature. Parents and kids might have fun imagining and drawing their own fantasy creatures. Would yours have orange eyes and purple prickles up his back like the gruffalo?

Book details

Author:Julia Donaldson
Illustrator:Axel Sheffler
Genre:Picture Book
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Puffin
Publication date:March 23, 1999
Number of pages:32
Publisher's recommended age(s):4 - 8
Read aloud:3
Read alone:6

This review of The Gruffalo was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Parent of a 6 and 8 year old Written bymissannoula January 6, 2011
AGE
3
QUALITY
 

My kids love, love, love this book. It iss fun to read and funny to look at. Highly recommend it.

Parent of a 4 year old Written byGoopee January 13, 2011
AGE
3
QUALITY
 

Just buy it.

One of the best books. Very well loved at home and at childcare. The Sequel is good as well.

What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Educator Written byMrsDotys2ndClass January 4, 2013
AGE
7
QUALITY
 

Mrs. Doty's 2nd Grade Class Book Review

This book has humor and makes you laugh. The book is very clever, has suspense, and surprises the reader. The writer and illustrator did a wonderful job creating this fun story.

What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models

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