Bottom line:: The Gruffalo presents an absolutely captivating adaptation of a popular children's picture book. Although perfect for preschoolers and early elementary age kids, the movie could be frightening for some very young children.MPAA Rating: NA
Genre: Children's animated
Guide Age Recommendation: 2+
Runtime: 40 minutes (total DVD)
The Gruffalo - Overview
Based on the popular children's book The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler, the movie follows a little brown mouse who takes a stroll through the deep dark wood. On his stroll, mouse meets three creatures who, as the wise little mouse knows, want to eat him for supper. Clever mouse describes to each one an imaginative monster called a Gruffalo, and the very thought of him scares the predators away. But, what will mouse do when he comes face to face with the Gruffalo himself?
The Gruffalo - Guide Review for Parents
I've seen many books turned into movies, some great, some not so great. But, in this case, I actually think that watching the movie is even more fun than reading the book. An Academy Award nominee, The Gruffalo takes a marvelous picture book and gives it that little something extra. If you need to have your young children absolutely mesmerized for a good 27 minutes, this is the DVD to do it.
The Gruffalo movie follows the picture book, almost exactly. Helena Bonham Carter's magical talent for storytelling comes through in her character, a mother squirrel who indulges her young children's request to tell them a story about a mouse and a monster. She relates to them the simple yet enchanting tale of the clever mouse who escapes an ill fate in the deep dark wood. The story is intensified by captivating music that highlights mouse's perilous predicaments as he strolls. On that note, I should warn that some very young children could be frightened the first time through the movie.
The animation is distinctive and charming, creating a world that gives a nod to the original illustrations from the book and is quite beautiful to look at. As the mouse strolls through the wood, the film brings out underlying natural themes of life in the forest, like the food chain and animal homes. Encourage children to notice what's going on in the forest as Mouse strolls along, especially in one brief scene where he saves a line of marching ants from becoming bird food.
Reading the book and watching the movie is a great way to get kids excited about reading. And, The Gruffalo movie also creates a good compare/contrast opportunity as well as adding another layer to the story by presenting a busy forest environment. If your child enjoys this movie, you can also check out the sequel, The Gruffalo's Child.
The Gruffalo - Bonus Features
- Photo Gallery
- The Making of The Gruffalo
The Gruffalo - Ideas for Fun Activities and Further Learning
- Retell the Story: Retelling stories is a great way to help kids learn literary and conversational skills. Ask kids to retell the story in their own words. Or, help them act out the story. Here is a great pine cone mouse craft kids can use to create the character of mouse themselves, and a pine cone is also great for exploring the forest theme as well. Kids could even treat Grandma and Grandpa to a puppet play, or a real play for that matter.
- Food Chain Fun: The idea of animals eating each other may be foreign to young children. Explore the food chain together and help kids learn about life in the forest. The website Kid's Corner has some great content on the food chain, including a food chain game to help kids learn.
- The Forest Habitat: The Gruffalo is a fun introduction to the forest habitat. What do the animals eat, and where do they live? Here are some great bird crafts to help kids learn more about our feathered friends and where they live. Also check out the related Gruffalo Story Sack crafts.
- Allow your child to "read" the story: Repetitive, rhyming stories like The Gruffalo are great for helping young kids learn early reading skills. Read the book a few times, and you'll find that your child is soon anticipating the lines and saying them along with you, just like the squirrels on the movie. Praise his "reading" skills, and encourage him to show others what he's learned by "reading" the book to them too.