Ugly beasts inspired ‘Gruffalo’


An African safari has inspired a new book by Julia Donaldson in which the creator of children’s favorite “The Gruffalo” homes in on an unsightly bunch of wild animals known as “The Ugly Five.”

Julia Donaldson

A wildebeest, a warthog, a spotted hyena, a lappet-faced vulture and a marabou stork delight in their ungainliness until their view is challenged in a rhyming tale with a gentle twist.

Donaldson’s best-selling stories often combine a message with a hint of comedy by reversing roles or expectations, and the importance of team work comes up again and again.

The new book has the ring of earlier work by the former children’s laureate such as “Stick Man”, “Room on the Broom” and “Zog” and she has again teamed up with long-time collaborator Axel Scheffler, whose drawings evoke fantasy and humor.

“The Gruffalo”, the story of a mythical beast and a clever mouse, has been translated into 40 different languages and sold over 10 million copies.

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