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.

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

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

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.

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

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

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

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!

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!

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...)

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.

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!

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

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.

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.

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...

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!

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

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

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

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.

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

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?!

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.

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