Saturday, January 8, 2011

Hello. Buffalo. Gruffalo. Gruffalo?!

Presenting the...

..Eh?!  Sorry. Wrong one.

Presenting the...


“A gruffalo? What’s a gruffalo?”
“A gruffalo! Why, didin’t you know? He has terrible tusks, and terrible claws, and terrible teeth in his terrible jaws.”

Believe me, it isn’t that terrible at all.

no gruesome 'makan-makan' and all. no no.
Or at least, the story isn’t.

Unlike ‘Edwina the Emu’, ‘The Gruffalo’ captured me right from its title to its message between the lines of the story. Gruffalo? In all my 20 plus years of exposure to English, what on earth was a gruffalo?! The innocence of a child was lost on me for a while; and it wasn’t until the story unfolds a little mouse that goes around spinning tales of an imaginary beast to scare of potential predators who may make him their food that it hits me. Oh..right. There is no such thing. Silly me.

And just when you thought the story is going to end with the mouse reigning victorious with his little made-up beast, the story presents a twist – his imaginary beastly friend isn’t that imaginary after all! And so the mouse becomes dinner. The end.

Not quite. Julia Donaldson is one smart author that keeps you surprised. Not only did the mouse not become the gruffalo’s dinner, he almost made him his! Instead of succumbing to this deadly fate, this witty little mouse twisted his luck and showed the gruffalo who’s boss of the woods. Taking the same route he came from, his predators ran at the sight of him (we all know it was the gruffalo). At that, the story finally came to an end with the gruffalo running away fearing for his life.

now you tell me who's boss?
Isn’t that smart? This story did not only manage to incorporate a number of twists, but also surprises you at every turn of the page. The colourful illustrations of the woods and its residents compliment the story so well that you’re so easily hooked onto the book. Apart from its rhyming concept, the story also plays skillfully at the fears of every young child; heightening it at the climax and then downplays it at the conclusion. Even the scariest of monsters aren’t as frightening as they seem; and even the most harmless of creatures can be threatening. Between these lines, the story teaches kids to never underestimate others. Nor should they be discouraged at being physically small.

Who says you can't be small and mighty?
On a whole, this is one wicked story. If you get what I mean. Two thumbs up for Julia Donaldson and Alex Sheffler. I’m giving this a 9 out of 10. An awesome storyline with excellent illustrations. For all you people looking for a children storybook, this is one good buy. Very noteworthy values are instilled and also, it might just come in handy when putting your kids to bed.

When the sun goes to hide and here comes the night,
You’d better head to bed and hold your blankie tight,
Or the gruffalo, rawwwwrrr, the gruffalo may come to bite!

No comments:

Post a Comment