What to Read After... The Gruffalo

Published on: 18 February 2019 Author: Anna McKerrow

Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler's The Gruffalo is undoubtedly an utter classic - but if your children (or you!) are ready to try something new, check out our recommendations and ideas suggested by readers, too!

The Gruffalo

Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler's The Gruffalo, published in 1999, has sold over 13 million copies, won several prizes for children's literature, and has been developed into plays on both the West End and Broadway and even an Oscar nominated animated film.

There are of course all the other brilliant Donaldson/Scheffler books to check out: The Snail and the Whale, Room on the Broom, Zog, Stick Man... but if you need a recommendation for something new, here are some ideas!

For little listeners that love monsters

The cover of Bedtime for Monsters

Dave The Lonely Monster presents a rather more human (and very tongue in cheek) take on a retired monster that just wants a quiet life; Wanted: The Chocolate Monster is by contrast a much messier, muckier and more chaotic read, with lots of shouting and laughs. Meanwhile, Ed Vere's Bedtime for Monsters has all the fun of The Gruffalo with a sweet monster you can't help loving.

For stories featuring an ingenious small creature

The front cover of Anna and Otis

Petr Horacek's The Mouse Who Wasn't Scared is just as brave as the Gruffalo's (with a bonus forest setting).

Otis the snake in Maisie Paradise Shearring's Anna and Otis turns out to be really quite adaptable to win the hearts of Anna's town, and Nadia Shireen's Norman in The Bumblebear thinks up something truly brilliant to get his paws on as much honey as he can.

For other books set in a forest

The cover of Tidy

Emily Gravett's Tidy features a bear called Pete who might be trying to tidy his forest a little bit too much, while Mini Grey's beautiful The Last Wolf features a diminishing forest in the middle of a growing city: what can be done to protect the animals that still live there?

Lastly, Billy and the Beast features the resourceful Billy - and her doughnut-laden hair - tricking a hungry beast that lurks in the forest.

If you love rhyming books...

The cover of This Zoo Is Not For You

Andy Stanton and Miguel Ordonez's Going to the Volcano is a riot of hilarious rhyme and repetition that children will adore; Bathroom Boogie is a bouncy, hilarious rhyme about the bedtime routine; and the rhyming story in Ross Collins' This Zoo is Not For You describes a platypus' unsuccessful interview with a picky panel of animals – not to be missed.

Picture book expert Emma O'Donovan also reminded us that Shifty McGifty and Slippery Sam: The Missing Masterpiece by Tracey Corderoy and Steven Lenton (Nosy Crow) would be a great book to follow The Gruffalo - written in bouncing rhyming verse, this pup- and pastry-filled book is a delight to read aloud.

And Bear Moves by Ben Bailey Smith and Sav Akyuz (Walker Books) is an infectiously funny book will have little ones bouncing around the room and joining in at every turn of the page. With clever wordplay and jazzy illustrations, this book will be the key to unlocking imaginations and injecting high-octane fun into story time.

Your suggestions

You excelled yourself when we asked you on social media for ideas of What to Read After The Gruffalo, coming up with heaps of wonderful recommendations! Here are just some of our favourite thoughts...

Kes Gray and Jim Field

Oi Cat

The Oi! series from Kes Gray and Jim Field - including the likes of Oi Frog! and Oi Cat! - had a lot of love, with @WatUxbKids, @_KidsPlanet and Rebecca on Facebook all bigging them up ('brilliant!')

And once you've finished those, there's more from the duo to try: The Squirrels Who Squabbled by Jim and Rachel Bright was recommended by Janet on Facebook and @BookWalrus on Twitter: 'If it's a rhyming book with humour and heart that you're after, you can't go wrong with Jim Field and Rachel Bright - The Squirrels Who Squabbled is our current fave!'

Fans of Kes, meanwhile, should try Billy's Bucket, which came highly recommended by @okyeahbut: 'A great sense of pacing and humour, and a delightfully whimsical idea, executed in such a fun way.'

Books based on your child's interests... whatever they may be

The Dinosaur That Pooped

@teachermumblog came up with heaps of suggestions for us, but made the great point that 'it depends what your child is into too'. For her 3-year-old son, it's Avengers... and also something else. 'He also likes the Dinosaur That Pooped series by Tom Fletcher [and illustrator Garry Parsons] as he's rather into anything poo-related right now.' We have a feeling a few of you may be able to relate to that...

If you want to go for the classics...

The Tiger Who Came to Tea

@teachermumblog didn't stop there, sharing some of the classic picture books she's been enjoying with her son: 'The Tiger Who Came To Tea and The Very Hungry Caterpillar are frequently requested at bedtime.'

In fact, lots of you went for classic stories. Over on Facebook, Katie revealed that Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury's We're Going on a Bear Hunt is her family's 'new favourite', while @VenetiaSB went for Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak ('best book ever') and @TheBabyExpert suggested the Slinky Malinki series by Lynley Dodd: 'I used to read them over and over with my children and now, almost ten years after my last reading, I can still quote them word for word!' 

The children's favourites

The Everywhere Bear

Lots of you shared the names of books your children are loving at the moment - and if we're going to listen to anyone, it's the kids themselves! @Maggie_Earl revealed that The Bear Who Stared by Duncan Beedie is a 'favourite' in her house, while over on Facebook, Jennie explained that her 2-year-old Gruffalo fan also loves the Little People, Big Dreams series, the RSPB's books, anything by Anna Hibiscus and the 'stunning' Journey trilogy of picture books by Aaron Becker.

Elsewhere, @clare_belbin recommended Hippos Go Beserk by Sandra Boynton ('my 6-year-olds still choose this book at bedtime'), while on Facebook, Steve Antony's Please Mr Panda got the nod from Kate: 'My boy can recite every word.'

Oh, and also on Facebook, we were really touched by Abbie's comment: 'The Everywhere Bear [by Julia Donaldson and Rebecca Cobb] is our absolute favourite. When I was in hospital in December, I read my 3-year-old daughter a bedtime story every night over the phone and she remembered the words to The Everywhere Bear even without the book in front of her!'

More ideas

The Bear and the Piano

As we said, you really excelled yourselves with your suggestions, so here are just a few more:

  • According to @anthony_mcgowan, 'only one thing will do' - the brilliant Mr Gum books by Andy Stanton.
  • @jonnarbett had a good plan for us: 'Definitely seek out Alex T. Smith's Claude adventures - great stories, beautiful illustrations and a beret-wearing dog!' (We can never say no to a beret-wearing dog, in fairness.)
  • @SuzannahCooper1 described David Litchfield's The Bear and the Piano as 'beautiful and poignant', while @BookWalrus made a very good point with their recommendation: 'Another rhyming story that's beautiful to look at and fun to read aloud is Sunk by Rob Biddulph - you get to do a pirate voice and everything!' 
  • 'My two favourites are Penguin by Polly Dunbar and The Paper Dolls by Julia Donaldson and Rebecca Cobb,' revealed @catlilycooks. 'Both an absolute delight to read aloud, you can have so much fun with them. Much loved in this house.'
  • And on Facebook, Delwynne showed true commitment to Giraffes Can't Dance by Giles Andreae and both The Lion Inside and The Koala Who Could by Rachel Bright and Jim Field (them again!): 'I've started buying them for my adult friends as I've run out of toddlers to give them to!'

Or take the alternative route...

On Facebook, Karen was taking a slightly different approach to What to Read After The Gruffalo: 'Read The Gruffalo, then read The Gruffalo and after that The Gruffalo. Read it backwards, upside down, randomly. Anyway you like. Change the ending, the middle the beginning. Read it again and again and again.' Fair enough!

Thank you so much to everyone who got in touch with us - we had so many responses we couldn't possibly include them all, but do check out the #WhatToReadAfter hashtag on Twitter for lots of other ideas.

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