The Gruffalo

by Julia Donaldson

Other authorsAxel Scheffler (Illustrator)
Paper Book, 1999



Call number




New York : Dial Books for Young Readers, c1999.


A clever mouse uses the threat of a terrifying creature to keep from being eaten by a fox, an owl, and a snake--only to have to outwit that creature as well.

User reviews

LibraryThing member PacificBlue
The Gruffalo is what started it with many British kids, including my daughter. We've now got every Julia Donaldson book going, although have our favourites.
LibraryThing member kwander
This is a story of a monster and a mouse. The mouse goes for a walk in a dangerous forest and comes up with fantastical tale of the Gruffalo to scare off his enemies. To his surprise, there is an actual Gruffalo.

Personal Reaction:
This book reminded me of children that love to make stuff
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up. It is good to have an imaginary however, sometimes it can get you into trouble. Sometimes, what ever you made up could be real somewhere you might encounter in the future.

Classroom Extension Ideas:
1. Ask the students if they have ever made a fictional character up.
2. Give the students paper to draw their very own fictional character.
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LibraryThing member lquilter
I was prepared to like this, but when reading it to my toddler I was disappointed to find that every single character given a gender (all but the mouse protagonist) was described as male -- and the mouse protagonist was described as male in the blurb on the back. Gender was entirely unnecessary,
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too -- in every instance switching gender would have been just fine, or using the neuter "it" (they were all animals with no apparent gender in the illustrations), or just referring to them by their animal names ("Owl", "Fox", "Snake", "Gruffalo").

This kind of sloppy failure to invest even the tiniest bit of consideration just frustrates and angers me. No parent wants to constantly have to re-gender while they're reading just so the toddler doesn't get the idea that all animals are male, or male is the default. Not to mention the confusion that results when simultaneously teaching the kid to read ....

In summary: An amusing trickster story written in rhyme that unfortunately perpetuates sexist stereotypes more frequently found decades ago. Not recommended for either boys or girls; you can get from other sources the same kind of amusing story without having to spend hours neutralizing or explaining sexism to your little ones.
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LibraryThing member DanielleSt
Fun rhyming story about a mouse that tricks other animals in the woods (i.e. snake, owl) and warn them of a scary mystical creature called a gruffalo, saying the gruffalo has an appetite for each respective animal. Finally, the mouse runs into the gruffalo and warns the gruffalo that all of the
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animals in the woods are afraid of the mouse, and that he (the gruffalo) should be too. The gruffalo challenges the mouse to prove it, so they venture through the woods to find the animals. Naturally the animals are afraid of the gruffalo and run away, but the gruffalo assumes they're running from the mouse. The mouse gets away!
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LibraryThing member tnelson725
A rhyming science fiction book that starts when a mouse is confronted by a fox, who is ready to eat him. The mouse then comes up with an idea of a monster called the gruffalo and the fox runs off when the mouse tells him that a gruffalo’s favorite treat is roasted fox. He does the same with a
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snake and an owl, each time making the gruffalo scarier. Eventually he runs into the made up animal and, to get out of being eating once again, tells the gruffalo to follow him and see how all the other animals are scared of him, and then the gruffalo would see that the mouse was truly the scariest. The animals run from the gruffalo and, thinking it is the mouse they are scared of, runs off.

I loved this story. It was cute and charming and I loved the repetitious rhymes. The monster isn’t too scary for young children either.

Students would love to act this story out. Teachers could add more animals in the story also and make up more rhymes if need be. Students could also make a sequence of the animals presented in the story.
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LibraryThing member Nhritzuk
The audio version of this story was probably one of the best that I have ever heard. Imelda Staunton changed her voice slightly but effectively to show the different voices of the different animals. Her pacing was perfect for the young children to whom this story would appeal. The sound effects
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(birds chirping, frogs splashing, music for the fox approaching) made me feel as though I was in the forest with the mouse. I would listen to this story over and over.
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LibraryThing member Smiler69
A mouse invents a scary creature called a Gruffalo to intimidate predators it comes across in the forest and avoid being eaten, only to eventually come across an actual Gruffalo. The mouse then manages to convince the beast that he's the toughest animal around! Very cute little story in rhymes. It
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was my first audiobook experience and I quite enjoyed it since the reading was very well done, but seeing the book and the illustrations would definitely add to the experience I'm sure.
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LibraryThing member ruthhardie
a fantastic book for toddlers
LibraryThing member SmithSJ01
I bought this for use with my 3 year old son and two of his friends as he’d asked for a themed book day at home and chose ‘The Gruffalo’. So what do you get for your pennies? Well, like another reviewer I was just as happy with the website but it was worth it for a few extras. My review will
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take you through page by page so that you can identify if the pack is worth it for your needs. I think the book is worth it if you look on it as an annual rather than for use with a party.

Inside cover – space to write child’s name in, opposite page is an explanation
P1/2 – a double page black and white deep dark wood which you can either colour or use the sticker sheet to transform it
P3/4 – how to decorate cakes to look like warts and mice and on opposite page a blank cake to be coloured or for stickers
P5/6 – Gruffalo party food and party games ideas
P7/8 – information on musical statues and then blank cloud to draw the Gruffalo’s great party idea
P9/13 – different party decorations to cut out, colour and make
P14 – drawing or using small pictures to make a Gruffalo Party Album
P15/18 – party decorations that can be cut out and some coloured
P19/21 – pictures to draw and colour
P22 – a darkened picture (the birthday candles have been blown out) and to use stickers to make eyes
P23/26 – pop-up cards for invitations/cards (for four people).

Additional items in the party pack include a stick the wart on the Gruffalo game (aka pin the tail on the donkey) and this was good fun! There are also a few stencils which are reasonably substantial but won’t last a lengthy time and then there are 20 A6 collage sheets with different pictures on.

All in all, it wasn’t a waste of money but I wish I’d been able to know exactly what was in it before I had bought it so that I could’ve compared it to the website. We did love our party food though and the internet provides some excellent ideas for very cheap ideas.
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LibraryThing member 1212bec
This book has brillant pictures. Follow the little mouse on his trip through the deep dark woods as he avoids being eating with a story of a Gruffalo, who doesn't exsit! But perhaps the gruffalo is real! When I found this book I fell in love.
LibraryThing member mmesullivan
The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson will be an instant favorite for children. The rhyming patters and playful language is a pleasure to read and engaging for kids age 2-8. The cleaver mouse is able to trick this predators by inventing the Gruffalo "A gruffalo? What's a gruffalo?"
"A gruffalo! Why,
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didn't you know?
He has knobbly knees, and turned-out toes,
And a poisonous wart at the end of his nose."

"Where are you meeting him?"
"Here, by this stream,
And his favourite food is owl ice cream." (Donaldson, 2006)
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LibraryThing member bibliest
A mouse is taking a stroll through the deep, dark wood when along comes a hungry fox, then an owl, and then a snake. The mouse is good enough to eat but smart enough to know this, so he invents . . . the gruffalo! As Mouse explains, the gruffalo is a creature with terrible claws, and terrible tusks
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in its terrible jaws, and knobbly knees and turned-out toes, and a poisonous wart at the end of its nose. But Mouse has no worry to show. After all, there’s no such thing as a gruffalo. . . .
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LibraryThing member ghelmus
Naturally, any book that rhymes is a good read to me. But what I love about this book is how clever it is. Instead of a character using lies to hurt others, the mouse in this story convinces predators that he is visiting a ferocious Gruffalo (which he says doesn't even exist). This scares the
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predators into running away and the mouse is left unharmed. The dialogue between multiple characters in every page makes this the perfect read aloud book for a classroom, the descriptions bring the pictures to life, and the ending provides a clever twist. This story just goes to show that being able to think on your feet can be life-saving.
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LibraryThing member IceMaiden786
I read this to my two year old and I think I may have loved it even more than she did. Hehe.
The illustrations are just brilliant. Four thumbs up for Axel Scheffler.
Julia Donaldson has a natural flair in writing that is a joy to read. She's great with rhyming and telling an original story with
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interesting characters and still adding a moral and a hidden meaning that is important for children to be instilled with. I love books that not only entertain but have lessons behind them.
This amongst many of her books, do just that.
Thank you for entertaining kids and adults alike. Come on, don't lie, you know you read it alone too! :P
5 out of 5 stars. *****
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LibraryThing member ashleyann65
A mouse is visited by many predators and makes up the Gruffalo so they go away. The Gruffalo ends up being real and wants to eat the mouse so the mouse tell him that he is the scariest animal around. The Gruffalo joins the mouse on the walk and they visit all the predators that wanted to eat the
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mouse, they see the Gruffalo and are frightened.
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LibraryThing member nstark
Very animated, creative story, with a twist at the end.
LibraryThing member Ebarclift13
A funny, rhythmic tale about a little mouse who becomes the scariest creature in the forest. This story may be an excellent tool to use when talking about the animal kingdom or when practicing rhyme.
LibraryThing member kimtk
My friend used this book in a teacher's strategy presentation and the class had to draw pictures of what they thought happened in the book including what they thought the Gruffalo looked like. What a hoot!
LibraryThing member estree1
I loved both the language and the illustrations of this book. The author uses rhyming to create a consistent tone throughout the book. "It's frightfully nice of you, Owl, but no--I'm going to have tea with a gruffalo." The images in the book allow the reader to gain a better sense of what the
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characters look like. When the mouse describes what the gruffalo looks like, the images allow you to see parts of the character and use your imagination to piece them together before seeing the whole gruffalo. The message of this story is to show children how they can use their wit to help them out in tough situations.
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LibraryThing member karleesampson
This is such a sweet book about a little mouse. The little mouse was approached by a fox, an owl, and a snake - all of which wanted to eat the little mouse for lunch. The little mouse started to make up a story of a scary Gruffalo to scare the animals away by saying his favorite food involved the
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type of animal that they were. The mouse stumbles upon a real live Gruffalo who wants to eat him on a piece of toast. The mouse convinces the Gruffalo that he is the scariest creature of them all. This is a fantasy book.
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LibraryThing member kvelin
This is a great book modern fantasy about a little mouse who is walking through the forest. Every time he is approached by a predator he tells them that he is meeting is friend the Gruffalo there and describes for them a scary monster. Each time the predator is frightened and runs away. The mouse
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ends up running into a Gruffalo and tells the Gruffalo that he should be scared of the mouse. To prove his point, the mouse has the Gruffalo walk behind him through the forest. As they walk through all the predators run and hide. The Gruffalo thinks the mouse is scaring away the animals, but it is really himself from the stories the mouse had told earlier.
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LibraryThing member sott3
In my opinion this is a fun book for all ages. The language used in the story is engaging with the rhyming patterns, and allows for readers to easily follow along. The language is very descriptive and allows for readers to visualize the Gruffalo’s features before they are actually shown. For
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example, the story describes the appearance of the Gruffalo using descriptions such as “purple spikes all over his back”, and then on the next page, an illustration shows readers the exact description. Secondly, I enjoyed the clear, well-developed characters. For example, readers can easily deifier that the mouse is the antagonist in the story. The overall message of this story is that thinking quick on your feet can help in scary situations.
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LibraryThing member humouress
This Smarties Book Prize gold award winner was chosen by my 5 year old from his brother's school book fair. He thoroughly enjoyed reading it to me at bedtime, and it is currently a favourite which sits on his bedside shelf, and which he keeps re-reading to himself (both silently and out loud), and
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to anyone who will listen.

The story, told in rhyming couplets, is about a mouse walking through the woods and avoiding being eaten by the other denizens of the woods by telling them scary stories of his imaginary friend, the gruffalo ... until he meets a real gruffalo, who would also like to eat him!

'A mouse took a stroll through the deep dark wood.
A fox saw the mouse and the mouse looked good.
"Where are you going to, little brown mouse?
Come and have lunch in my underground house.
"It's terribly kind of you, Fox, but no -
I'm going to have lunch with a gruffalo." '

Our edition, illustrated by Axel Scheffler, has lots of pictures interspersed through the text, including lots of full page and double page illustrations. The illustrations are reasonably simple at first glance, but with lots of background information, in terms of plants and small woodland creatures.

The rhythm is catchy, and the rhymes form several repeating patterns that makes the story easy to read and - quite frankly - addictive for young readers. I have a suspicion that my son first came across the book in school, and liked it so much that he decided to get it for his own when he came across it at the book fair.

This was the first time I had read the story myself, and it's delightful. The mouse imagines all kinds of scary features for the gruffalo, and I wondered if the real gruffalo would look anything like his imagination - and whether the mouse would escape from such a scary creature.

It's funny and clever, and my five year old loves it.

Five stars.
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LibraryThing member kbuffum13
This children's picture book is a part of the fantasy genre. The gruffalo is a monster that has terrible claws, and terrible tusks in its terrible jaws, and knobbly knees and turned-out toes, and a poisonous wart at the end of its nose. The mouse is walking through the woods and realizes that he is
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good enough to eat. So when the fox, owl, and the snake come to eat him, he just explains that he is waiting for the gruffalo. However, he laughs when they get scared away because there is no such thing as a gruffalo. But just then mouse runs into a gruffalo who is ready to eat him. Mouse explains how he is the scarest animal in the woods and walks up to each of the creatures with who run away because of the gruffalo. This act makes it look as if they are all scared of the mouse. So the gruffalo runs away and is scared of the mouse as well. The mouse at the end of the day is safe and enjoys a nut.
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LibraryThing member KyleLanser
Great book about outsmarting those bigger than you.


Original publication date


Physical description

28 cm


0803723865 / 9780803723863

Other editions

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