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A Critical Analysis of the Gruffalo

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Peyton Turner

on 20 March 2015

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Transcript of A Critical Analysis of the Gruffalo

The Gruffalo was illustrated by German born illustrator Axel Scheffler. Scheffler and Donaldson have worked together on many of Donaldsons books, Scheffler has also repeatedly worked with author Ian Whybrow. Schefflers illustrations of the Gruffalo have been marketed on almost everything, including Thorntons chocolate. Scheffler also had the chance to work in animation illustrating the Gruffalo again for a short film and later on the Gruffalo's child.
The Gruffalo.
Wyse, Andrews and Hoffman (2010, p.48) summarise inference as 'Stating information not explicitly given by the text, filling gaps, drawing conclusions'

In The Gruffalo, children can infer that the gruffalo is scary due to its description, this again is done through the following of ideologies. However in In Maurice Sendak 'Where the Wild Things Are' (1963) the description of the 'wild things' are similar to that of the gruffalo. But, the characteristics of the 'wild things' are different. This shows that some authors follow stereotypical conventions and that some texts cannot be intertextually inferred.
Picture and Text Relationship.
Gamble and Yates (2003, p.130) describes intertextuality as one narrative referring to other sources to aid understanding, if the intertextual reference is targeted well children will pick up on similarities and apply this to the text (through inference)

Donaldson herself has discussed the link between The Gruffalo and a particular tale which is derived from Chinese folklore. The tale is called 'The Fox Borrows the Tigers Terror'. One of the main similarities between The Gruffalo and this tale is the characterisation and stereotypical conventions followed. Donaldson's use of characterisation allows children to infer the personalities of the characters.

Peyton Turner.
A Critical Analysis of The Gruffalo
Julia Donaldson
Julia Donaldson MBE is a
renowned children's author and was the Children's
Laureate from 2011-2013.
Donaldson is best known for The Gruffalo, a story enjoyed world wide and

has been purchased over 3 million times . The works of Donaldson also include Tidler and Room on the Broom, however it is the Gruffalo which has captured many hearts.
The Gruffalo is the story of a cunning mouse who
uses the threat of the gruffalo to scare off other animals that seem to want to eat him. However, the mouse then has an encounter with the gruffalo who he believed wasn't real. The gruffalo threatens to eat the mouse however the mouse 'shows' him he is the scariest animal in the forest.
How the module has influenced my practice...
The Importance of Children's Literature.
'literature' consists of texts which engage,
change and provoke intense responses
from readers.
(Hunt, 2005, p.1)
We know that teachers are a powerful
influence on children's attitudes towards
reading and on their literacy skills.
Literature permeates culture (Waugh, Neaum and Waugh, 2013, p.16)

Thus meaning that without developing an understanding of inference and
intertextuality children are unable to
understand classic intertextual references.

(Waugh, Neaum and Waugh, 2013, p.1)
Picture books are a means in which
we integrate children into a culture.
(Salisbury and Styles, 2012, p.75)
The National Curriculum

(DfE, 2013, p.14 )
'All pupils must be encouraged to
read widely
across both fiction and non-fiction to
develop their knowledge of themselves and the world
in which they live, to
establish an appreciation and love of reading
, and to
gain knowledge across the curriculum
. Reading widely and often i
ncreases pupils’ vocabulary
because they encounter words they would rarely hear or use in everyday speech. Reading also
feeds pupils’ imagination
and opens up a treasure-house of
wonder and joy for curious young minds'
Waugh, Neaum and Waugh (2013, p. 71) describe the different types of illustrations in picture books. They narrow it to:

Graphic decoration
Narrative illustration
Interpretative illustration
Wordless picture books

The Gruffalo is an example of interpretative illustration. This is described as illustrations expanding the text and giving it another dimension (Waugh, Neaum and Waugh, 2013, p.71), this is due to the animals emotions (scared, confused, happy) being omitted in the text. Nikolajeva and Scott (2000) also describe this type of illustration as 'complementary' as it can fill the 'readerly gap' (Salisbury and Styles, 2012, p.75), this is described as space between the text and pictures which require children to make sense of.
Before this module I didn't understand how crucial picture books are to literacy. In addition I was unsure of the different types and different benefits.
Most importantly I now acknowledge that as a practitioner it is important that my attitude towards reading is always positive.
This module has taught me the importance of a wide range of literature in the classroom.
As a result of this module I have a guided reading framework which will support me in practice. It also enables me to gain a higher amount of development from a guided reading session.
Guided Reading.
I would use this The Gruffalo in a Year 2 classroom.
The objectives that I would try to meet are:
Recognising simple recurring literary language in stories and poetry.
Discussing the sequence of events in books and how items of information are related.
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