The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson is one of our favourite stories. We also love the sequel – The Gruffalo’s Child – and we have copies of both in Standard English and in Scots.
It tells the story of a mouse having a wee saunter through a wood. He meets (in turn) a fox, an owl, and a snake. They all invite him to dine with them, when really they intend to have him for their dinner! He declines each invitation by saying that he is going to meet a Gruffalo, and then goes on to describe it as a terrifying creature that likes to eat foxes/owls/snakes. He has of course made up the fearsome sounding beast, but then actually meets one! The Gruffalo also wants to eat the mouse, but the mouse has a cunning plan to get out of his sticky situation.
Since Andrew was around eighteen months old, we’ve been going on Gruffalo hunts when we do a particular forest walk in the Highlands. We’ve never come across any Gruffalo…until now!
I bought these two Bajo figures when they were on special offer, as I thought they would go perfectly with our books. The children love to play with the figures as we read the story together, as well as make up new adventures for the Gruffalo and the mouse.
Keira was determined to take them on our next walk through the wood, so that’s just what we did. She took charge of the mouse figure, and recited the story from memory as we walked along.
Andrew, Julia and I ran ahead to hide the animals that the mouse would meet on his journey. The fox was near his underground house, the owl was in his treetop house, and the snake was in his logpile house.
Keira had great fun seeking out the three animals, and acting out the dialogue between them and the mouse. She flitted flawlessly between the Standard English and the Scots version, which was so cute!
Then we got to the “Oh help, oh no, it’s a Gruffalo!” We’d finally met a Gruffalo in our Gruffalo wood!
We continued our walk and acted out the rest of the story. I won’t spoil it for you by saying how the mouse gets out of being eaten, but I will say his clever plan works, and at last he finds a nut “and the nut wis braw.”
When we reached the end of our walk, we sat by the pond and read the story together, whilst being eaten alive by midges! (Welcome to a Scottish Summer!) Jessica was too busy growling at every dog that passed to really pay attention, but she was wearing her Gruffalo puddlesuit, so took part in her own way.
We had great fun reenacting one of our favourite stories as a family, and have plans to do so many times over in the future. My kids have been chattering away excitedly over which story to do next, and how we’re going to do it. They have great imaginations, and often play out their favourite books and films – sometimes with Lego, sometimes with sticks, but most of the time no props are needed at all!
Do you have a favourite family story you could act out? Perhaps you did so as a child. I’d love to hear your ideas and memories in the comments.