SUMMARY: A clever mouse tricks his many enemies into leaving him alone by inventing a ferocious beast known as a gruffalo.
WHY IT’S HERE: ‘The Gruffalo’ is a CG animated adaptation of Julia Donaldson’s phenomenally popular children’s picture book. Broadcast on BBC1 on Christmas day 2009, ‘The Gruffalo’ was instantly embraced as a family classic and has been regularly repeated during holidays, eventually spawning a sequel in ‘The Gruffalo’s Child’. Although it has extremely strong source material to work with, the film version is faced with the task of stretching out a short bedtime story to just under half an hour and it does so with clever pacing which allows ample opportunity for children to join in with their favourite pieces of dialogue without slowing down the action too much. The character designs, based on Axel Scheffler’s original illustrations, are delightful and adults will enjoy identifying the starry voice cast which includes Robbie Coltrane, John Hurt, Helena Bonham Carter and Rob Brydon. The film was nominated for both the Oscar and BAFTA for best animated short and, although it won neither, it has already attained legendary status with young children. Having watched it many times with my own little nephew, I find it more charming with every screening.