AIBU to ask why The Gruffalo is so very popular?

(143 Posts)
octaviarose Mon 19-Nov-12 21:39:42

I don't really understand why the Gruffalo is so very popular as a children's book, please someone explain the enormous appeal.

It's brilliant! Though I love jd in general and I'd rate a number of her other books higher than grufflo.
And you can sing along to gruffalo soldier. Which always amuses me.

Have you read any others? Snail and the whale is brilliant. Squash and a squeeze is good.

MammaTJ Mon 19-Nov-12 21:42:06

I do not know, ask my DS who is Gruffalo obsessed!! It is harmless though, so all good. grin

FreudiansSlipper Mon 19-Nov-12 21:42:15

shock

it's frigging fantastic the cartoon is too. Sadly ds does not want me to read it to him anymore sad

SirBoobAlot Mon 19-Nov-12 21:42:40

The Gruffalo is brilliant. It is a wonderful story smile Julia Donaldson is very talented, all of her books are a huge hit here.

DS adores Gruffalo though smile

picnicbasketcase Mon 19-Nov-12 21:43:28

The charming illustrations, sweet storyline, the rhyming helps young children who have just started learning to read, the comical aspect of a main character being small and vulnerable outwitting everyone around him... Stuff like that I expect.

Bingdweller Mon 19-Nov-12 21:43:35

The Gruffalo in Scots is fantastic!

Glittertwins Mon 19-Nov-12 21:44:22

I dread to think how much she has made from us ever since they were bought The Gruffalo by my oldest friend!

sidandlinus Mon 19-Nov-12 21:44:40

as well as book, we used to have the audio tape with imelda staunton - really brilliant stuff - DD loved it - worth looking out for.

Welovecouscous Mon 19-Nov-12 21:44:45

Ds loves the scariness of the gruffalo pictures!

Disappearing Mon 19-Nov-12 21:45:16

The DVD version is fab, way better than the book, the music is so enchanting.

I would agree that the plot is a little weak though. My DC are totally disinterested in the book.

TheMysteryCat Mon 19-Nov-12 21:46:30

Beautiful writing! Jd understands language development, rhyme and rhythm for children, but also creates books that parents enjoy reading too. We've got all of her books. Tabby mctat is a big favourite

CSIJanner Mon 19-Nov-12 21:46:51

The stage show is fab, however it was totally trumped by the Hungry Caterpillar puppet show. Fantastic!

Pancakeflipper Mon 19-Nov-12 21:47:19

It's because the nut was good.

It's cos you can do fantastic voices and the mouse triumphs the Gruffalo. And you can spot the squirrel, frogs, woodpecker etc.

SminkoPinko Mon 19-Nov-12 21:47:25

I have always thought it is vastly overrated too. It's not bad but not a proper classic like The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Green Eggs and Ham or The Tiger who came to Tea. I think Toddle Waddle is JD's finest work, personally.

honeytea Mon 19-Nov-12 21:47:35

It's a fantastic book! I read it with kids with very basic English skills and they just love the sound of the words and the pictures.

derekthehamster Mon 19-Nov-12 21:48:05

I always preffered 'Room on a broom'

derekthehamster Mon 19-Nov-12 21:48:34

preferred blush

StickEmWithThePointyEnd Mon 19-Nov-12 21:48:35

Ds likes to shout "Woof" (I don't know what noise foxes make sorry grin), "Twit Twohoo" "Hisssssss" "Squeak" and "Grrrrr" at the appropriate moment throughout the book so he can't actually hear the rest of the story.

And with the Gruffalo's Child he also gets to shout "Stick" and "Moon" a lot too. It makes him happy.

millie30 Mon 19-Nov-12 21:49:58

DS loves the Gruffalo, although his favourite by Julia Donaldson is The Smartest Giant In Town. I think it's the repetition and the illustrations that appeal to him.

maddening Mon 19-Nov-12 21:50:34

It's fab tis why smile I know it off by heart now as ds has a thing for grabbing the book or turning all the pages so it's best just to recite it smile

Because DD is so cute when she tries to kiss the Gruffalo's mouth. I love the rythym, and the illustrations, and the sheer ingeniousness of the Mouse.

Glittertwins Mon 19-Nov-12 21:50:58

A trip to Room on the Broom at the theatre is their Christmas present this year smile

louisianablue2000 Mon 19-Nov-12 21:51:18

YANBU. I do not get why JD is quite so dominant in picture books, there are others who are better. Not fussed about Axel Scheffler's illustration, I don't hate them but I don't adore them like some others.

StickEmWithThePointyEnd Mon 19-Nov-12 21:52:43

I struggle with some of her other books, like the Smartest Giant in town because when I talk, giraffe doesn't rhyme with scarf so it makes it sound odd and puts the rhythm out.

Shaky Mon 19-Nov-12 21:53:19

We love tabby mctat and room on the broom, they are brilliant.

Ds also loves Charlie Cooks Favourite Book

MousyMouse Mon 19-Nov-12 21:54:21

- because it has a lovely rhyme to it, not this horrible rhyme-you-or-I-will-eat-you kind of rhyme that is so common with children's books
- because it is a lovely story
- because the pictures are great

Alibabaandthe40nappies Mon 19-Nov-12 21:55:13

I adore JDs books, and so do my boys.

My 20 month old pretends to be The Gruffalo, sometimes when we are out and sometimes he just lurks in wait behind doors and springs out, roaring grin

They are lovely to read, not horrid and clunky like many. The stories are simple and appealing.

Love them all. I think Tiddler and Snail and the Whale are my favourites.

Bingdweller Mon 19-Nov-12 21:55:51

We're loving The Highway Rat at the moment too. My 5 year old adores the illustrations, especially the Gruffalo biscuits at the end - the detail is lovely.

Sirzy Mon 19-Nov-12 21:55:57

the Gruffalo, like most of the other books of hers I have read is fantastic.

DS loves them!

Booboostoo Mon 19-Nov-12 21:56:04

I love the Gruffalo, DD's favourite is the Snail and the Whale smile

BertieBotts Mon 19-Nov-12 21:56:09

I like it too, but I am also a bit underwhelmed by it.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Mon 19-Nov-12 21:56:36

StickEm - I sing that book mostly, it works better. DS1 gets upset for poor George and his lack of trousers grin

HazelnutinCaramel Mon 19-Nov-12 21:57:11

Because it's clever, funny, original and well illustrated. Only comes second to the excellent What the Ladybird Heard.

When your heart doesn't sink at the prospect of reading a children's book for the fiftieth time, it must be good.

Sirzy Mon 19-Nov-12 21:57:18

BTW for JD lovers wanting to expand their collection you can normally get 10 of her books for about £10 from The Book People.

SkiBumMum Mon 19-Nov-12 21:57:44

Stick I'm with you on the rhyming. Definitely favour southern accents!

Follow the Swallow by JD is beautiful. Explains the seasons and migration so well.

LaCiccolina Mon 19-Nov-12 21:58:28

Have u read it?

Or just bought the merch (shite) that goes with it.

Try reading it. Might make more sense

gordyslovesheep Mon 19-Nov-12 21:59:07

give em Not Now Bernard all day long

The Gruffalo is nice but samey

Because when you are on long boring car journeys you can spot Gruffalos in the woods.
I think my top three JD books are

1. Room On The Broom (can recite it at will)
2. The Gruffalo
3. Zog (for its feminist message smile)

BuddyTheChristmasElf Mon 19-Nov-12 21:59:30

and because the DVD is nice and calm with nice music and not flashy and annoying

mine loves the repitition

EcoLady Mon 19-Nov-12 22:02:59

I always struggle with "plant" and "can't" in Tyrannosaurus Drip.

Has no-one mentioned Monkey Puzzle yet? That was the first one that we discovered.

larks35 Mon 19-Nov-12 22:03:00

YABU to not understand why it is a brilliant book, if you have read it that is. I love all children's books that rhyme well without being laboured, DS enjoyed the rhythm and would bounce along when young and join in as his speech developed. The illustrations are absolutely brilliant too IMO. Julia Donaldson isn't the only children's writer to have accomplished this, DS and I also love Lynley Dodd books for the same reason.

marquesas Mon 19-Nov-12 22:03:23

I'm fairly neutral on the Gruffalo but I really don't "get" The Hungry Caterpillar - could someone explain that one to me. I think partly I don't like the illustrations at all but I think I must be missing something.

hazeyjane Mon 19-Nov-12 22:03:28

Has anyone mentioned that it is based on an ancient Chinese folk tale?!

<gruffalo trivia>

I think it is one of my least favourite of her books, but it is still better than a lot of children's books out there. My favourites are Tabby McTat and The Snail and The Whale (which always makes me cry)

mountains Mon 19-Nov-12 22:03:52

A major flaw of The Gruffalo IMO is that the kids who enjoy all the repetition and love the animals etc, are too young to understand the mouse's trick. Aren't they? Or is it just mine who had a limited theory of mind? It goes right over their head, that the Gruffalo was supposed to be made up, that it's funny when he appears, AND also that the Gruffalo is deceived into thinking the animals are all afraid of the mouse. No? I mean can a 2 year old get that? That's the target audience isn't it? Therefore it can't be that good... It's always bothered me! Love the writing and drawings though.

But then it's a dual purpose book - great rhyme and pictures for the children and a comical storyline for the adults.

exoticfruits Mon 19-Nov-12 22:07:52

I haven't come across a child who doesn't like it. I also love 'the hungry caterpillar'. They don't have to appeal to adults (although they often do)and I find that all DCs love it. Perhaps you are not very good at reading aloud.

I love the gruffalo and room on the broom. I like tyrannosaurus drip but don't think the illustrations in that are as kid friendly. I think the rhymes when you're reading appeal to children and make it fun to read.

OneHandWavingFree Mon 19-Nov-12 22:08:18

I like The Gruffalo, but prefer The Gruffalo's Child, which is, I think, the more engaging story. The only things I don't like about those books are the freaky human faces on AS's butterflies (shudder). The Gruffalo themselves are fabulous though, as are all the big-eyed animals.

Tabby McTat is our favourite, though. I like to challenge Dd to say "Socks and McTat had a cat-to-cat chat", which she can never manage before collapsing into giggles (she's 2.5). For that alone, JD will always hold a place in my affections smile

exoticfruits Mon 19-Nov-12 22:08:19

Sorry-reading 'the hungry caterpillar' aloud.

Monkey Puzzle is wonderful, I cried at the end blush
Charlie Cooks Favourite Book is also a favourite of mine
We always give JD books as birthday presents, so much nicer than the plastic tat everyone else gets.

larks35 Mon 19-Nov-12 22:10:58

Mountains, I think the trick of the book is that it can appeal to a wider age-range, including the adults that will repeat the story endlessly. My nephew who is now 8yo grew up with the story and still reads it himself; he fully understands the trick and loves it! (Maybe because he is a bit small for his age and a bit geeky and has had some problems at school with some of the bigger lads in his class)

FamiliesShareGerms Mon 19-Nov-12 22:11:11

YY, what HazyJane said - the story "works" because it's based on folk stories of made up creatures that turn out to be real

And the rhyme is good, lots of different voices to do, and the pictures are fab

MousyMouse Mon 19-Nov-12 22:12:14

monkey puzzle is lovely too.
the butterflies text goes well with the melody of 'rockabye baby'.

Cezella Mon 19-Nov-12 22:13:19

I love the Gruffalo and the Gruffalo's child but think that in some of JD's other books the rhyming feels very forced and therefore the writing isn't that great. I think I'm thinking about the Stickman?
Some are brilliant though (Snale and the Whale)

MousyMouse Mon 19-Nov-12 22:13:44

blush mixed up my lullabies.
monkey puzzle='hush little baby'

Sirzy Mon 19-Nov-12 22:14:58

Back to the very hungry catterpillar - that is another one of my sons favourites, it's a lovely simple story and he finds it hysterical for some reason. He loves to count the fruit and 'read' it with me

Pascha Mon 19-Nov-12 22:15:15

Because the simple rhythm of the poetry draws very young children in, it's easy for adults to read and repeat, its memorable and it's a nice introduction to stories for even the least literary of parents to show their kids.

DS has moved on to What the Ladybird Heard which I am quite pleased with as the audio of Alexander Armstrong singing 'the cow said moo and the hen said cluck' is quite something to listen to...

dementedma Mon 19-Nov-12 22:15:24

DS loved Room on the Broom and Tiddler

derekthehamster Mon 19-Nov-12 22:15:47

However, I also loved 'A squash and a squeeze' (very like our house)

eosmum Mon 19-Nov-12 22:17:55

We love the gruffalo in this house, and most of the others. I had to read the smartest giant every night for a year and half, no exaggeration, but the highway rat is not popular at all.

weegiemum Mon 19-Nov-12 22:18:58

My kids love "An Gruffalo" in Gaelic!

I run a mum & babies reading group. It almost always comes top of fave books at the end of the year! might be cos I enthusiastically cut up a copy and made stick puppets of the main characters!

I love Stickman, The Highway Rat is dc1's current bedtime favourite.

weegiemum Mon 19-Nov-12 22:20:28

Snail and the Whale is my fave though. I actually cried at the end the first time I read it!!

The gruffalos child cartoon on Christmas Day last year made us all misty. It was lovely.

mountains Mon 19-Nov-12 22:21:00

Well for some reason it spoils it for me, to not be able to chat about the story, and to be met with little blank stares when I try to explain it; My kids looooved it and i read it hundreds of time, but always with a sense that it wasn't right! grin <twitches>

That bloody song in The Smartest Giant in Town, I'm sure I must hold the award for most tuneless, melody changes from reading to reading rendition.

hazeyjane Mon 19-Nov-12 22:23:06

"And she gazed at the sky, the sea, the land

The waves and the caves and the golden sand,

She gazed and gazed, amazed by it all,

And she said to the whale, "I feel so small."

<sob>

Euphemia Mon 19-Nov-12 22:23:40

The Gruffalo in Scots?! shock I have to get that! My school has gone Gruffalo crazy - the bairns would love it in Scots! Is it Matthew Fitt?

Flojo1979 Mon 19-Nov-12 22:23:57

Oh I think I'm going to have to get snale and whale one for DD for Xmas. We love the Gruffalo and Gruffalos child. Another favourite is Stickman, if u haven't got it then I highly recommend.

Euphemia Mon 19-Nov-12 22:25:46

“A moose took a dauner through the deep mirk widd.
A tod saw the moose and the moose looked guid”….

Love it!

Thank fuck someone else doesn't get the hungry caterpillar. Caterpillar makes a pig of himself. Big deal. I can't bear it!

MrsCantSayAnything Mon 19-Nov-12 22:37:55

Yanbu. It doesn't move me at all!

Ruprekt Mon 19-Nov-12 22:38:42

Monkey Puzzle is my favourite JD book.

I hate The Tiger Who Came To Tea.

Shaky Mon 19-Nov-12 22:39:53

Oh yes, Stick Man and Monkey Puzzle are both lovely

Climbingpenguin Mon 19-Nov-12 22:42:52

I HATE the very hungry caterpillar and don't get why that is such a classic

marquesas Mon 19-Nov-12 22:45:33

Gwendoline and Climbingpenguin - I'm so glad I'm not alone grin

To whoever asked if I'd read it out loud - are you joking? People don't read it for their own pleasure do they confused

Kethryveris Mon 19-Nov-12 22:48:48

ds is scared by the gruffalo, its "Room on the Broom" all the way here.

WineGless Mon 19-Nov-12 22:49:39

I can't choose a JD favorite but love all the above. I've cried at most of the endings!

SirBoobAlot Mon 19-Nov-12 22:51:13

Jack And the Flumflum Tree currently at the top here.

We have the Gruffalo sound book, the frog noise makes me giggle every time. It sounds very dirty grin

whattodoo Mon 19-Nov-12 22:51:48

Stick Man, What The Ladybird Heard, and the new one - Superworm.

We love hunting for all the characters hidden in Axel Schiffler's illustrations.

We also give JD books as gifts, you can't get it wrong!

MousyMouse Mon 19-Nov-12 22:51:51

I HATE the very hungry caterpillar and don't get why that is such a classic maybe because it works much better in other languagues?

GobHoblin Mon 19-Nov-12 22:51:53

Gruffalo is DD's yr1 topic this term, so we are revisiting big style! (and i'm loving it) Also adore What the ladybird heard and Stickman is her fave. I just love doing the voices!!

Plomino Mon 19-Nov-12 22:52:37

All my lot loved the Gruffalo . DD1 particularly loved the fact that the smallest creature was the cleverest of all. (Something she noticed by herself, being the smallest in our house )

Last Friday for children in need , DS1 decided to hire a Gruffalo costume and go and meet DS4 and DD1 from school . It was like watching the Pied Piper of Hamlyn , as he rapidly gained an entourage and ended up having his picture taken with about 30 kids . Madness !

Bunnyjo Mon 19-Nov-12 22:53:59

I love Julia Donaldson!

My top 3 would be
1. Room on the Broom
2. Zog
3. The Smartest Giant in Town

And I'm another one who doesn't love the Hungry Caterpillar.

Kethryveris Mon 19-Nov-12 22:55:57

i love the hungry caterpillar.. but we have a giggle when we get to the long list of food!

ArtfulAardvark Mon 19-Nov-12 23:00:20

We loved it and also had a lot of fun doing "voices" when reading room on the broom, the boys also loved Monkey Puzzle.

I think Julia Donaldson's books will be a similar cosy childhood memory for the children in the way the Dr Seuss books are for me.

I dont get the hungry caterpiller at all either.

We always liked the Lynley Dodd - Hairy McLary books though.

nokidshere Mon 19-Nov-12 23:02:30

Oh we loved them all - but The Gruffalo, Stickman and Snail and the whale were particular favourites.

They are all still here on our bookshelves along with my very fave book called "where oh where is bedtime bear" from ELC 15 years ago - very sad that my children have grown out of them lol - The Hunger Games doesn't have the same sweetness about them grin

edam Mon 19-Nov-12 23:14:38

Love the Gruffalo and the Snail and the Whale for all the reasons already mentioned about rhyme and language development and all that jazz but mainly because they are just charming and happy.

The Hungry Caterpillar - repetition, and the humour for a small child in something little being able to gnaw away at stuff much bigger than itself, and being able to eat all sorts of different types of food including stuff that children only get in very small qualities, like giant lollipops (or something like that, don't have a copy to hand). The juxtaposition is just mad. And that's one of the basic building blocks of humour, putting things that don't fit together next to each other in a surprising manner. (Doesn't sound very funny, put like that, but inappropriateness is a common factor in jokes, verbal and visual.)

HoldMeCloserTonyDanza Mon 19-Nov-12 23:23:20

Zog all the way!

Don't rescue me, I won't go back to being a princess
And prancing round the palace in a silly frilly dress.
I want to be a doctor, and travel here and there
Listening to people's chests and giving them my care

It is all lost on Disney-princess-mad DD though angry I'll brainwash her yet!

Snail and the whale sounds great, I'll have to get that.

HoldMeCloserTonyDanza Mon 19-Nov-12 23:25:10

Our copy of the Very Hungry Caterpillar is all sticky from DD licking all the pictures of food

Fakebook Mon 19-Nov-12 23:29:36

The Gruffalo is great! It's a really clever little book with rhyming and allows children to join in with the reading due to the repitition. We gave dd the Gruffalo and the Gruffalo's child for her birthday 2 years ago and she loves both book even now.
She also loves tiddler the story telling fish. Very fun and easy to understand and children can join in.

Selim Mon 19-Nov-12 23:36:42

When my big dcs read to the tiny ones they always choose a JD book. I don't get the hungary caterpillar either.

Kethryveris Mon 19-Nov-12 23:42:42

the point of THC is its a fun way to teach young children how to count.

Clary Mon 19-Nov-12 23:50:38

Ah we loved The Gruffalo also Snail and the Whale and Room on the Broom and Tiddler (spot the gruffalo fish!).

For me the appeal was the wonderful rhyming and rhythmic text; also the way the underdog/small person so often triumphs/wins the day through being clever; the pictrues are brilliant too.

I just love the way Tiddler's story helps him - "I was lost, I was scared, but a story led me home again..." smile

The children used to love the stories and the repetition etc. I loved them because they were not maddening like Dig Dig Digging or That's not my....

I was really sad when the (old) age of my children meant I really could not justify buying Stick Man or Tabby McTat. Read DS2's best mate's brother's copies tho! grin

StElmo Tue 20-Nov-12 00:47:58

The Gruffalo is brilliant! Though, not as good as Tabby McTat and room on the broom.

We are huge JD fans in this house but Gruffalo is definately not the favourite..
We started with
Sharing a Shell
DS's favourite has been The Troll
DD is just moving on from Chocolate Mouse for Greedy Goose, One Mole Digging a Hole and Hippo Has a Hat and seems to be quite taken with
Princess and the Wizard

Ozziegirly Tue 20-Nov-12 03:41:17

DS (2) loves Stick Man and my god I must have read it a thousand times. I love Snail and the Whale but sadly he isn't so keen (yet). I also had to stop to compose myself the first time I read it; "I must not fail".

We have an author over here (Australia) who is incredibly popular, Pamela Allen, and my DS absolutely adores her books, along with Hairy Mclairy, which I also like.

CaptainBarnaclesDaddyman Tue 20-Nov-12 05:43:13

You have to do special voices for all the characters in JD books to make them work properly.

My gruffalo is Ray Winston, and the man and woman in A Squash and a Squeeze are the Queen and Philip grin

In our house I'd like to think its the amazing violets I do blush

gastrognome Tue 20-Nov-12 05:53:20

I quite like the Gruffalo story, but really don't like the illustrations. I just don't think they are well drawn, and all the figures look so stiff and static.
My DD quite likes the Gruffalo but no more than her other picture books. She preferred the Gruffalo's child I think!
And neither of us particularly liked the Snail and the Whale - I though the story was OK but the rhymes feel "clunky" to me, and again I really don't rate the illustrations.
My favourite JD is What the Ladybird Heard. Probably because Axel thingybob didn't illustrate it!

I do get annoyed that JD books are so prevalent in bookshops, while other wonderful children's books are nigh impossible to find (except online).

CaptainBarnaclesDaddyman Tue 20-Nov-12 06:01:31

I love AS's illustrations, they have a charming aspect to them, an identifiable style and great use of colour. They remind me of Richard Scarry's work. And I love the way that the eyes sometimes seem to be looking out at the reader.

balotelli Tue 20-Nov-12 06:10:57

JD is a genuis.

Room on the Broom is on the tv this Christmas!

Cant wait

RawShark Tue 20-Nov-12 06:50:03

I agree OP. Never have got past the first page with DS. He loves My Dad by Anthony Browne though which has no rhymes at all.

BartletForTeamGB Tue 20-Nov-12 07:10:25

Our favourites are Stick Man (when the Stick Lady & Stick Children are missing their dad almost makes me cry!), The Highway Rat & Tiddler. The rhythms just carry you through her books and the pictures are great.

Room on the Broom is going to be the highlight of my dd's Christmas.

Stick man and his stick lady love make me cry.

Has anyone read Superworm yet?

Chandon Tue 20-Nov-12 07:35:13

The Gruffalo taught my 3 year old to read!

He learned it off by heart, easy due to it's rhythm anf rhyme, and then " pretend read" it whilst reciting. Until he could read all the words! All by himself.

Also, the story is funny and clever, yet quite simple.

A classic I reckon.

Lougle Tue 20-Nov-12 07:40:51

The Gruffalo is I've of those books which grows with the child. Of course they won't get the subtleties at first. As they grow, they start to understand.

It is really very clever, lots of reverse psychology.

RedLentil Tue 20-Nov-12 07:46:20

My 4-year.old daughter is only happy if I spend most of the day 'being' a gruffalo.

Sometimes she forgets herself and says 'Hello Gruffalo' when I pick her up from play group. grin

thegreylady Tue 20-Nov-12 09:20:37

In The Gruffalo the small creature (child) natural prey of so many creatures manages to defeat them all through cleverness and a bit of trickery. It teaches the bullied child that being small and weak doesn't mean you have to be served "on a slice of bread".
When I was teaching I used the book in every year of primary for so many activities including labelling,news reports,and story reviews.

Startail Tue 20-Nov-12 09:27:33

No idea, we somehow never owned a copy.
We do have the gruffalo's child which is ok.

Little tiger not wanting to go to bed and Slinky Malinky were the one's I read most. I could recite those. DD1s favourite is Room on the Broom, but they had that at school.

Has anyone mentioned cave baby yet? Or as DD calls it "da baby in da cave"?
(is that even JD)
Anyway that's another favourite. As is Zog.

StanleyLambchop Tue 20-Nov-12 09:34:04

Stick Man all the way in this house, I get all misty eyed when he goes back to his stick lady & kids at the end!

The Tiger who came to Tea is just weird= is Mum on drugs & tripping out this bizzarre story? I've always wondered?

maillotjaune Tue 20-Nov-12 09:36:38

Tiddler and Charlie Cook are better, but I love rhyming books for small children. That's why Dr Seuss is so good but while we're in the subject of overrated can I point out that Marvin K Mooney is much better than Green Eggs. wink

How could I forget Sharing a Shell? I remember reading it in a bookshop when pregnant with dc1 and getting all teary. I love everything about that book smile

SminkoPinko Tue 20-Nov-12 09:41:07

the v peckish caterpillar is a classic because the collage illustrations are amazing and were probably the first of their kind and because it tells a quite complex tale of metamorphosis in a simple, colourful, original, accessible, mildly amusing, tactile way that even quite a young baby can appreciate at some level. I think it's a bit ubiquitous but I can see why because it's also got the nostalgia factor since it's been around for a good few generations now.

Pascha Tue 20-Nov-12 09:41:34

Nah Tiger mummy has just had a really shitty day, ended up drinking all of daddy's beer and couldn't face cooking so daddy did the right thing, accepted the tiger story Sophie came up with and took them all out for sausages in the dark.

milkymocha Tue 20-Nov-12 09:42:04

Zog is my favourite JD book by far, it is referred to as 'mummys best book'blush

For Whomever mentioned the Tiger who came to tea.. I dont get it? I think its a rubbish book! Is their a meaning to it that iam missing?!

maillotjaune Tue 20-Nov-12 09:46:46

The Tiger Who Came To Tea is wonderful - the kind of preposterous story children make up. And Sophie tries telling the tiger to stop (look at her whispering in his ear) but secretly enjoys him being so naughty.

And going out to a cafe in you pyjamas, in the dark - the simple enjoyment of being a child in the 70sgrin

mountains Tue 20-Nov-12 09:51:52

Ah but I think it's not just the subtleties they don't get - it's the whole story. Why does the Gruffalo run away when the mouse says her tummy is beginning to rumble? My 2-yr old never got it. He'll get it now that he is 4, but he'd be a bit bored by the repetition, and possibly a bit blasé about the pictures. So I think although I'd like it to be a great book, I don't think it can be, because it's not actually well-suited to any stage. Why is a book that a 2 yr old can't understand, that then turns into a relatively unexciting one for a 4yr old being hailed as great? There are so many other books.
I don't really care, though, honest! As toddlers my kids found the build-up v.exciting, (the end probably less so) and loved my various voices; I was just curious to see if I'm the only one to feel like that, and i can see that I am. grin

Also I prefer books without a 'message' in them - which is why i love 'The Tiger Who Came To Tea'; it's just a simple story where the the tiger's actions are not clear, to the parent who is reading the book no more than to the child, so both can wonder about them, and the child's guess is as good the parent's, which is very unusual in kids books, and makes for nice conversations, I think.

PeppermintPasty Tue 20-Nov-12 09:58:47

I absolutely love The Tiger Who Came To Tea, but whenever I read it to the dcs I can't help thinking that the tiger is an invention of the mummy who has been drinking all afternoon and has forgotten to cook the daddy's tea. She tells the daughter a story about a tiger coming in and eating all the food and all the tea and all the water from the tap, even daddy's beer.....then daddy comes home, hears this tale with a weary look on his face, (heard it all before) and without so much as a by your leave, takes them both out for a cafe supper.

Then mummy is all better the next day, and remembers to go shopping. The tiger never comes back though, so she probably invents something else next time, daddy has her sectioned, divorces her and remarries. The end.

Or is it just me blush

PeppermintPasty Tue 20-Nov-12 10:00:02

oh duh that'll teach me for not reading earlier posts. Great minds Pascha grin

Kethryveris Tue 20-Nov-12 10:03:32

Rhino's dont eat Pancakes is very similar in that vein.. its quite obvious the rhino is the invention of a lonely little girl.

i just want to know why the purple polar bear appears!

CaptainBarnaclesDaddyman Tue 20-Nov-12 10:04:48

My mum ripped up a copy of tiger who came to tea, proclaiming it to be sexist claptrap. She really didn't like the way that mummy was so stupid to let a tiger in and let it eat and drink everything, and then be the poor little woman who didn't know what to do and have to rely on daddy coming to the rescue because he's such a clever chap who's got an answer for everything.

I've never been able to read it without viewing it that way...

EssieW Tue 20-Nov-12 10:04:48

DS not bothered by Gruffalo. DD loves it! It's a useful one for inspiring walks in the woods. Gruffalos leave chocolate coins lying around...

Our favourite JD book is Zog which both DS and I can recite from memory. Followed by Stick Man, What the Ladybird Heard and Snail and the Whale.

The partnership of Donaldson and Axel Scheffer is brilliant - the pictures in all of them work brilliantly.

choceyes Tue 20-Nov-12 10:05:06

I quite like the Gruffalo, but my DCs are not that keen on it. Although I can't find my our copy of the Gruffalo so haven't read it to them in a while.

Our favs are Stickman - love the rhyming in it. Fetch it and drop it and fetch it again, drop it and fetch it and drop it again..!! Genius!!!

Tabby McTat..a cat-to-cat chat...love it!

My personal favourite is Zog, for the feminist angle wink

YY to Room on the Broom too. And Cavebaby is great, DS loves that one.

I absolutely adore Monkey Puzzle, but the DCs get a bit bored halfway into the book because it is a lot of reading and becomes quite repetitive, so I tend to skip a few pages. But I love it for the storyline though.
Love the What the Ladybird heard too. I don't think the DCs get the story tbh, it is quite complicated for an under 5 I think. My DS who is 4 can just about understand the plot.

I hate the Hungry Catterpillar too and the DCs don't like it either. We do like the Tiger that Came to Tea however, DS is really engaged by the storyline. I took him to see the stage show a few months ago and it was pretty good, even I enjoyed it.

choceyes Tue 20-Nov-12 10:09:38

CaptainBarnaclesDaddyman - I see what your DM thinks of the tiger that came to tea, yes it is a bit sexist I agree. However the stage show is better actually. The mum is a stronger character and the daddy is portrayed as a bit forgetful and clumsy, not as sexist as the book!

drjohnsonscat Tue 20-Nov-12 10:13:46

I don't really love any Julia Donaldson books. My kids aren't fussed either. I don't know why we don't love them when others do but they leave me cold. I don't love Axel Scheffler's illustrations either. So agree with you OP.

They would always rather have a Dr Seuss or a Nick Sharratt or anything else really.

drjohnsonscat Tue 20-Nov-12 10:15:13

Actually I was just thinking about what their favourite book is and it's also a rhyming book with a clever story and nice pictures - The Giant Jam Sandwich by John Vernon Lloyd. We all love that one.

Furoshika Tue 20-Nov-12 10:16:36

I like Julia Donaldson very much as a person (at least how she comes across in interviews) but I think there are far more lyrical children's poets out there. Sometimes the rhymes and rhythms are so forced, it's painful to read.

My kids liked the books enough but not especially.

mountains Tue 20-Nov-12 10:17:03

Yes I also think that The Tiger is sexist, but it's such an arresting story, I don't let it bother me.

OwlLady Tue 20-Nov-12 10:17:58

I love the gruffalo, it's one of those books you can so all different voices and expressions to smile

impty Tue 20-Nov-12 10:22:10

I love the Gruffalo and I loved doing the voices! It's such a shame the my DCs won't let me read it to them now, but understandable as they are 15 and 12!

SminkoPinko Tue 20-Nov-12 10:53:39

the tiger is brilliant partly because it lends itself to excellent literary criticism. There have been some brilliant critiques by mumsnetters over the years! My daughter's current favourite book is called Gnarbunga. It's about a sticky sludgey monster thing who learns to skateboard.

mountains Tue 20-Nov-12 11:03:08

Or it lends itself to excellent literary criticism because it is brilliant! (trying to think of a children's book I love more...)

milkymocha Tue 20-Nov-12 11:04:37

Peppermint I never thought of it like that!!

I do not agree with the previous poster who said how well written it is! We love Monkey Puzzle too for the poster who mentioned that. It encouraged my son to say 'so thats why 'cousins name' doesnt look like me!' (Cousin is bi-racial)
Which i thought was great!

milkymocha Tue 20-Nov-12 11:07:01

I have a soft spot for 'You're all my favourires' by Sam McBratney. It really helped my 2 year old to understand that we still loved him even with the new addition to our family!

Silibilimili Tue 20-Nov-12 12:14:33

Because the books are very clever. The stories have a clever twist.

edam Tue 20-Nov-12 22:21:24

Barnacle, that's a very good point about Axel's illustrations reminding you of Richard Scarry - I'd never thought of that before but you are right. I LOVED Scarry when I was little, must see if I can get hold of some of his stuff for ds before he's too old.

I do enjoy a good debate about what The Tiger Who Came To Tea is really about, but remember seeing or hearing about that very question being put to the author once. Who paused, looked at the questioner as if they were a bit dim, and said: 'It's about a Tiger. Who came to tea.' grin

I love the gruffalo! It was a big favourite here but sadly my five year old has got bored of Julia Donaldson and now I'm finding it difficult to find any book she does like. My ten year old dd1 does an awesome rap of the gruffalo done dorfor her sisters entertainment last year.

Hope my two year old dd3 likes the gruffalo.

Flojo1979 Tue 20-Nov-12 23:38:33

Ordered snail and the whale, last night, after all your lovely recommendations!

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