So The Gruffalo was given the ultimate accolade by being made into an animated film and shown on Christmas Day. Good call. It should be the law that producers choose a picture book every year to feature in this way. My favourite from last year was Lost and Found by Oliver Jeffers. I suggest The Jolly Postman by the Ahlbergs next.
I hope book sales of The Gruffalo increase tenfold as a result of the film, not because Julia Donaldson and Alex Scheffler haven’t sold enough copies already but because the TV version of the story might encourage parents to buy it in book form. It is the perfect story for a grown up to read to a child over and over again until the grown up wants scream and hide it deep down the side of the settee and the kid knows it off by heart.
The Gruffalo is a classic because the prose has a rhythm and pace that make it easy for the reader to read out loud. ‘A mouse took a stroll through a deep, dark wood. A fox saw the mouse and the mouse looked good.’ It takes even the most self-conscious, reluctant parent by the hand and says: ‘say it like this…’ It’s also beautifully illustrated and funny. Children love funny.