"There's no such thing as a gruffalo?" - OH, but yes there is! There must be, because for the last 20 years we have been sharing story time, bedtime reading and everything in-between with this universally loved 'monster'.
An undisputed modern classic, the award-winning The Gruffalo story (if you don't already know it by heart) is the tale of a mouse’s walk through the woods and his search for the mysterious Gruffalo - the tale unfolds in two phases, is a readable 700 words long and written in rhyming couplets and repetitive verse with minor variance that ensures you never forget this story.
Arguably one of author Julia Donaldson's most popular books - she has written over 60 children books - The Gruffalo was first published in 1999 and to date has sold over 13 million copies worldwide. With distinctive illustrations by Axel Scheffler who has worked with Donaldson on several books (including The Highway Rat, Stickman and Room on the Broom), this is one of the most successful author/illustrator partnerships in picture book publishing history.
The Gruffalo has been made into an animated film, a stage play, national woodland trails, a ride at Chessington World of Adventures, not to mention the products you can buy from fashion to homewares - The Gruffalo continues to delight children and adults the world over.
To help celebrate The Gruffalo's 20th Birthday we have rounded up 20 ways to mark this special anniversary:
1. BUY THE ANNIVERSARY BOOK
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A special 20th anniversary edition of The Gruffalo is a must-have addition to the bookshelves of all Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler fans – even if you have a copy already. The Gruffalo 20th Anniversary Edition features a wrap-around deep dark wood play scene and press-out characters for an interactive reading experience, plus additional book content including The Gruffalo song lyrics, a Gruffalo quiz, tips for putting on a Gruffalo show and so much more. A wonderful copy to cherish.
2. WATCH THE ANIMATED FILM (AGAIN!)
The Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler animated film has become somewhat of a modern Christmas tradition with a new animated film being shown in the run up to the big day for the last few years. But, it was The Gruffalo that paved the way when it was first adapted and shown on the BBC, Christmas 2009 - yes, we couldn't believe it either! Bringing the nation's favourite bedtime story to life with an all-star voice cast including Robbie Coltrane as the Gruffalo, Helena Bonham Carter as the narrator, Rob Brydon as the Snake, James Corden as the Mouse, John Hurt as the Owl and Tom Wilkinson as the Fox.
This 20th Anniversary special edition DVD includes a set of five exclusive Gruffalo postcards.
3. SEE THE LIVE WEST END SHOW
The Gruffalo returns to London’s Lyric Theatre just in time for the Summer holidays and is the perfect way to spend a day with the family. See The Gruffalo and his forest pals come to life in front of your eyes in the touring West End show from now until September 2019. This is one stage show that won't be forgotten and is also a great introduction to the theatre for pre-school and primary school children, with a running time of 55 minutes. Recommended for children aged 3+ there are also relaxed performances available. Tickets are priced from £19
4. BUY THE SPECIAL GRUFFALO STAMPS FROM ROYAL MAIL
Ensure all those birthday cards and invitations to any Gruffalo party are finished off with some special edition Gruffalo stamps. This fun-packed collectible pack features all six Special Stamps and the Miniature Sheet including new and exclusive artwork by The Gruffalo illustrator Axel Scheffler. You can also get a framed set of stamps, postcards and miniature stand sheets. The perfect gift for young fans of this beloved bedtime classic.
BUY HERE >> The Gruffalo Presentation Pack
5. COME FACE TO FACE WITH THE GRUFFALO AT CHESSINGTON
Take a trip to Chessington World of Adventures Resort in Surrey. All throughout the summer, Chessington are hosting celebrations to mark the big G's 20th birthday. Families will have the opportunity to join this much-loved monster for a spectacular song and dance, and will be joined by other Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler favourites such as Stick Man, The Highway Rat, Zog, Betty o'Barley, Harry o'Hay and the Room on the Broom Witch! And, that's not all. More fun will be had with a trip on the world's first ever Gruffalo ride. The Gruffalo River Ride Adventure opened in 2017 and we're all still queuing up for this thrilling river boat tour. Don't forget to visit The Gruffalo themed shop at Chessington too.
BOOK HERE>> Chessington World of Adventures
6. HAVE A GRUFFALO SLEEPOVER
And, while you're at Chessington World of Adventures why not book into the special themed room? Located in the Chessington Safari hotel, this specially designed room ensures a stay in the deep, dark wood with a difference. Children will love having their own separate bunk-bed sleeping area - and what's more every Gruffalo room includes a bathroom, TV and an exclusive kids Gruffalo Poncho towel that can be used throughout your stay. Watch the movie, read the book and hope they are all as quiet as a mouse come bedtime. Packages start at £299.
7. PACK FOR A GETAWAY WITH TRUNKI
Heading on holiday? Then no toddler will want to leave this behind. One of our favourite suitcase brands, Trunki are known for their fun, sturdy and lightweight hand luggage, come ride-on suitcases. With stickers to customise, kids will love having this cool creature by their side wherever they go. The Gruffalo Trunki has all of the original Gruffalo features including a teddy bear seatbelt for Mouse, an 18 litre capacity and Gruffalo horns for stability.
BUY HERE >> Gruffalo Trunki £44.99
8. DO THE GRUFFALO TRAIL
9. GET COLOURING
The official Gruffalo site is filled with ideas, information and Gruffalo themed buys - but, we especially love the activities section full of pictures to colour, word searches and dot-to-dots to while away a few hours on a rainy day or screen-free afternoon. The activities have had a little party update for his 20th birthday too. Why not team these up with this Gruffalo Pencil set too?
DOWNLOAD HERE>> The Gruffalo 20th Anniversary Activities
10. COLLECT THE GRUFFALO COIN
Already sold out in the gold and silver proof, so don't miss the chance to own the first commemorative Royal Mint UK coin to feature the Grufflalo. You won't find this UK 50p brilliant uncirculated coin in your change. Comes presented in bright, fun fold-out packaging that recalls the story’s original illustrations and is a must for fans young or old.
11. LISTEN TO THE AUDIO VERSION
Treat the children to a magical Toniebox (also shortlisted in the Junior Design Awards 2019) and then settle down with the whole family for a modern story time session in under 20 minutes. Children will love listening to the audio version of The Gruffalo read by Imelda Staunton – and, you can enjoy not having to read and repeat the Mouse took a stroll... for a little while. Ideal for ages 4+
BUY HERE >> The Gruffalo on Toniebox
12. GRAB THE GRUFFALO BABY COLLECTION BY MORI
Look out for the Baby Mori X Gruffalo collection for babies. This limited edition collection will launch in September 2019 and is crafted from MORI's signature organic cotton and bamboo fabric. We got a sneak peek of it at a recent press event - and can confirm it is adorable.
This unique keepsake collection features the cherished characters, scenes and quotes from The Gruffalo, in four exclusive prints. The day and sleep collection ranges from newborn up to 4 years and will include clothing, blankets and sleeping bags. Make a note in your diary! Prices from £18.
BUY HERE/FOR UPDATES>> Baby Mori X Gruffalo Collection
13. LOOK FOR THE GRUFFALO...
...With this collection of 5 acetate framed character glasses from Specsavers. For children who wear glasses, what better way to see than with your favourite story character on your spectacles Each pair comes with free single vision lenses including a UV filter for under-16s, a scratch resistant treatment, case and cloth. No orange eyes needed! We're sure eyewear was never this cute when we were young. From £64
BUY HERE>> Gruffalo Eyewear collection by Specsavers
14. GRAB SOME GRUFFALO STYLE
Not your average character fashion collection. Cribstar have taken this much-loved monster and given him a new lease of life with cool separates for babies and children ages 3mths-8 years. In unisex monochrome and biscuit shades, the graphic printed harem pants, T-shirts and sweatshirts will add a little style to playtime - in the deep dark wood or not. We also love the baby swaddles. Priced from £12.
BUY HERE>> Cribstar Gruffalo Collection
15. PLAY IN THE WOODEN WOODS
Our love of wooden toys knows no bounds at Junior so we were delighted to find these chic Gruffalo wooden figures from Polish brand Bajo Toys. With 5 central characters from the story to chose from - why not collect them all and pop them in a story sack or set them up in the wooden theatre for extra fun at story time? These crafted toys are treated with eco, non-toxic paints and oils and are suitable form 18mths upwards.
16. MAKE GRUFFALO CRUMBLE!
Is your tummy beginning to rumble? Why not rustle up owl ice cream, scrambled snake, roasted fox.. or Gruffalo crumble! Gruffalo Crumble and Other Recipes is an easy-to-follow cookbook (although, more food shape art and arranging than actual cooking) that is packed full of sweet treats, healthy snacks and simple meals. With twenty-four recipes, each with step-by-step instructions and lots of hints and tips on what to do next, its a great way to introduce small children to a love of cooking - especially if it gets them to clear their plates too! Perfect for food ideas for a Gruffalo party too. Which leads onto...
17. THROW A GRUFFALO PARTY
What could be more fun than a 20th birthday party feast with a Gruffalo or 2? We love the tableware selection at Fabulous Partyware - check out the handmade piñata too. And, for extra planning tips, check out this feature on how to throw the perfect Gruffalo party or tea by Pan MacMillan. Also, we love Pinterest for more food and decorating ideas.
18. TAKE A GRUFFALO BATH
Adding a big splash to bath time is of course, the most famous, orange-eyed fellow in the whole of the deep, dark wood – The Gruffalo. In collaboration with Good Bubble these no-nasties products are suitable from birth and are made using extract of the super-fruit Prickly Pear and nourishing avocado. Coconut oil is also added to the moisturisers for increased hydration and smoother baby-soft skin.
BUY HERE >> Good Bubble The Gruffalo collection from £2.50
19. SNUGGLE UP WITH THE GRUFFALO
If your little one likes character bedding then you can't go wrong with Dreamtex (who specialise in brand licensed bedding). Made with 100% cotton they are a quick way to update any toddler's or pre-schooler's bedroom with their favourite story characters.
20. HAVE BREAKFAST WITH THE GRUFFALO
And, after book, bath and bed how about breakfast with The Gruffalo? This set from Wild & Wolf gets our vote - and is quite hard to track down (much like the Gruffalo himself...)