A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What 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.
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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?
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.
Talk to your kids 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?
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