Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Sunday, March 20, 2011
ISBN 13: 978-0-333-71093-7
In a nutshell
Walk into the deep dark wood, meet a quick-thinking mouse and discover what happens when he comes face to face with a ugly, hungry gruffalo.
What I liked
Ever since I took a liking to children's books, I'ver heard and read about Julia Donaldson and her very famous and well-loved 'The Gruffalo'. And I'm privileged and honoured to be given the chance to review some of her books, thanks to Odelia from Pansing :)
I asked my students if they've read 'The Gruffalo' or have been read to, one of them looked at me quizically and asked, 'Is that the story about the clever mouse?' Thrilled that he was right, I said,'Yes! Did you like it?' 'I don't remember much, but I liked the mouse who was small yet smart!'
That's what I loved about the story too :) It's fun to see how this little mouse always manages to escape being pounced on by a bigger animal by outwitting them! I can't help but smile as the mouse exaggerates his description of the Gruffalo each time he meets another animal - from "terrible claws and jaws" to "his tongue is black, he has purple prickles all over his back."
The twist comes when he finally meets the real, ugly gruffalo who tells him, "You'll taste good on a slice of bread", to which the little mouse tells him, "I'm the scariest creature in this wood" and that "Everyone is afraid of me." He then asks the gruffalo to go with him into the wood so that he can prove it. And so the gruffalo does.
Can you guess the ending? *wink*
It's a fun read! Even for an adult! Trust me ;)
It's a great story to be read out loud to a child, this one :) Especially when the words rhyme so beautifully and the story, so charming! You could also have some fun activities with the children, like making the gruffalo's mask and baking a gruffalo cake!
I think Axel Scheffler did a fantastic job on the gruffalo too. I mean, it's not easy drawing a frightening creature that looks cute too, don't you think? No wonder it has become a well-loved children's character! See Scheffler's sketches for the gruffalo and watch him make the gruffalo come to life here.
Saturday, March 12, 2011
I loved everything about Freddie and the Fairy. Not just the simple, rhyming words and illustration, but also the lesson learnt from it. Freddie sort of blamed Bessie-Belle for getting all his wishes wrong, knowing very well that Bessie-Belle has hearing problems. Then, the Fairy Queen appeared to save the day. She taught Freddie how he can help Bessie-Belle to get his wishes right this time.
Reading this to a child, we'll be able to help them learn three things:
I also liked the tone and words that were carefully chosen for Fairy Queen when she was correcting Freddie. "Now, Freddie," said the Fairy Queen. (She sounded kind but stern.) "Before you wish again, there are Three rules for you to learn." The way the lesson was taught was kind, gentle, firm and not accusatory.
I'm planning to share this story with 3 very soft-spoken girls in my class. I'm sure they'd appreciate the warm and beautiful illustrations too :)
Did you know?
Julia was told there is no cure - and worse still, as she aged, she could also develop further hearing loss in the higher frequencies (ie, high-pitched sounds). Read more here.
Thursday, March 10, 2011
Came across this article on Neil Gaiman's tweet:
On Saturday 5 March, a million books were away across the UK in the first ever World Book Night. Writers were asked which books they give as gifts and which they've been most pleased to receive. And children's authors recommended books to give to children.
Find out books that famous authors like Mark Haddon, Margaret Atwood (the book which also inspired the creators of World Book Night) and Neil Gaiman often give as gifts, books that AS Byatt gives his granddaughter (Angela Carter's anthology Wayward Girls and Wicked Women is one of them), PD James who doesn't have a favourite book giveaway 'as each book has to be chosen individually for the recipient' (totally agree with you PD James! :)), Hari Kunzu's current book fetish and many more :)
I love what Margaret Drabble wrote about Dr. Seuss: The best book I've ever been given is the complete six-volume edition of Van Gogh's letters last Christmas, but the book I kept on giving to my grandchildren when they were small was Dr Seuss's The Sneetches (HarperCollins). I gave them all lots of copies until I was told to stop. I loved this book so much, I wanted them to love it too. Dr Seuss is so amusing and egalitarian and free-thinking and so unlike all the more respectable English books I was given and liked as a child. Green Eggs and Ham was pretty good too, but the Sneetches were best. They should be compulsory reading for all warring nations.
I'm gonna hunt you down The Sneetches!! :D