Sunday, September 11, 2011

Julia Donaldson

.. is the new Children's Laureate in the UK. Superb choice too.
We love her work, especially when paired with illustrator Axel Sheffler. Some are original plots while some are a retelling of traditional tales. All in rhyme and awesomely illustrated. We have audio versions of some of these, they have served us well as travel companions. Here's a partial list of the ones we love:

The Gruffalo: About how a little mouse outwits a big 'gruffalo'. Guaranteed to be a huge hit with all kinds of monster-lovers. Excellent example of how brains can win over brute power. One time when my little one was around two years old, she spotted a book in the library which was illustrated by Mr.Scheffler and promptly shouted 'Gruffalo!'
And oh if you ever get a chance, get Saffron Tree's resident story-teller Ms.Ranjani to narrate this one and watch the kids stilling spell-bound through the session!

Monkey Puzzle:  Little monkey gets lost and wants his mom. A kind butterfly offers to help him track her down. The monkey tells the butterfly what mom looks like but it keeps getting it wrong and taking him to a wrong animal. Like 'she has a tail that coils around trees' is interpreted by the butterfly as a snake. In the end he does get to Mom, and this part never failed to produce a big grin from my little monkey. Easily one of our most favourite books ever, though we have long outgrown them.

The Snail and the Whale: An adventurous snail goes around the world perched on a whale's tail. Heart-warming tale of how size does not matter as far as helping a friend goes.

Room on the Broom: Involves a friendly witch and her pals. I can chant this book from memory!

The Gruffalo's Child: Sequel to The Gruffalo. Mouse outwits the Gruffalo's kid this time. Slightly oblique humour too. Still brings a smile.

Charlie Cook's Favourite Book: A 'nested' story. Charlie Cook reads a book about a pirate who reads one about a knight who reads one about an alien....and finally we get back to Charlie Cook via a ghost who is reading a book about him. Brilliant.

The Smartest Giant in Town: About a considerate giant who helps other creatures in need. Also a mega hit in these parts.

Stick Man: A stick gets thrown, used in various ways, chucked, chewed upon and finally buried in the snow. Till one day he ends up in a pile in the chimney. He rescues Mr.Santa Claus himself and as a Christmas gift, Santa drops him back to his family. Perfect Christmas gift IMO - and I mean the book!

A Squash and a Squeeze: Grumpy old lady thinks her house is too tiny. Wise old man suggests she first bring in her hen, then goat, then pig and then cow in. She is puzzled but does what he says grumbling more and more about how squashed up she is getting. Finally he asks her to let all the animals out. That's when she realizes that her house is not that bad. Old story retold in an enchanting manner.


sandhya said...

Wonderful round-up!

ranjani.sathish said...

We are big fans of Julia Donaldson too and Gruffalo was the first one we got started on still remains a special book to me :-).

The Magic Paint Brush, retelling of a beautiful Chinese tale by JD, is another favourite !

Artnavy said...

thanks for introducing this magical duo to us a few years ago

we are also die hard fans now

Praba Ram said...

a lovingly compiled list of JD books! Thanks, Chox!

One of Ranjani's first reviews for ST was of the Gruffalo, and that was during the newly hatched times of ST!:) Something about those first picture books you read to your children, (esp fun reading first time to first borns, during those early years of parenting nah? the stories simply stick with you forever!!:))

We've read the Gruffalo. Been a while though. Will have to find a way to lay my hands on them all!


utbtkids said...

Chox this is such a treasure. Gruffalo is a fav at home!

Choxbox said...

S: Thanks!

R: Yup, thats an awesome one as well, though in my head JD goes with Sheffler :)

Art: My pleasure!

P: Off to check the review, and yes, totally - these JDs are ones I can part with only for my little nephew - that too strictly on a returnable basis!

utbt: Have you seen the movie? Utterly cute. Sending you the link in a minute.

Sheela said...

Thanks, Choxie, for a wonderful post. I could very well relate to your note about reciting Room on the Broom - easily an October favorite here for the last few years. And, Gruffalo has inspired many a terrible creature story with lilting narration at home as well.

Meera Sriram said...

Wonderful compilation! Where's my mom? (Monkey Puzzle) is our favorite! Never read Charlie Cook's....sounds very interesting!

utbtkids said...

Yes Chox, I have seen the movie last year. Loved it.

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