'A mouse took a stroll through the deep dark wood. A fox saw the mouse, and the mouse looked good.' Walk further into the deep dark wood, and discover what happens when the quick-thinking mouse comes face to face with an owl, a snake and a hungry gruffalo...
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Julia Donaldson teaches English and lives in Glasgow. Over the last two decades she has had many books published and her work has been performed on programmes such as Playschool and Playdays. She has also written for BBC radio, the stage and record, and runs drama and music workshops for children. Axel Scheffler has had books published in over a dozen countries and is famous for his depiction of animals. His books for Macmillan have included Juice The Pig and The Bedtime Bear. Born in Hamburg, he now lives in London.From Publishers Weekly:
The eponymous character introduced by this British team owes a large debt to Maurice Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are. When Mouse meets Fox in the "deep dark wood," he invents a story about the gruffalo, described very much like Sendak's fearsome quartet of wild thingsA"He has terrible tusks, and terrible claws, and terrible teeth in his terrible jaws." The gullible fox runs away when Mouse tells him that the gruffalo's favorite food is roasted fox. "Silly old Fox!" says Mouse, "Doesn't he know?/ There's no such thing as a gruffalo!" Owl and Snake follow suit until, with a turn of the page, Mouse runs into the creature he has imagined. Quick-thinking Mouse then tells the monster, "I'm the scariest creature in this deep dark wood./ Just walk behind me and soon you'll see,/ Everyone for miles is afraid of me." Fox, Owl and Snake appear to be terrified of the tiny mouse, but readers can plainly see the real object of their fears. By story's end, the gruffalo flees, and Mouse enjoys his nut lunch in peace. Despite the derivative plot line, debut author Donaldson manipulates the repetitive language and rhymes to good advantage, supplying her story with plenty of scary-but-not-too-scary moments. Scheffler's gruffalo may seem a goofy hybrid of Max's wild things, but his cartoonlike illustrations build suspense via spot-art previews of the monster's orange eyes, black tongue and purple prickles until the monster's appearance in full. Ages 4-8.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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