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The Gruffalo

Another in the “how’d we miss this?” category… The Gruffalo is an award-winning children’s book from the U.K., written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler. It was first published in 1999 by Macmillan Children’s Books. It tells the tale (via a mother squirrel giving her children a bedtime story) of a mouse walking through the woods.  When he is threatened in turn by a predatory fox, snake, and owl, he scares each of them off by telling them he is on his way to meet his friend the “Gruffalo” — a monstrous creature who is much more dangerous than any of them. He’s making it all up, of course, and he thinks he’s so clever… until he runs into the real Gruffalo. After the book became enormously popular in the U.K. and elsewhere, Magic Light Pictures and Studio Soi made The Gruffalo into a 30-minute CGI film, which was broadcast on U.K. television for Christmas 2009. It featured (among others) the voices of Helena Bonham Carter (as the mother squirrel), John Hurt, and Robbie Coltrane (as the Gruffalo). The BBC has a trailer for the show on-line, and there’s also a making-of video from Magic Light.

image c. 2011 Axel Scheffler