“Mommy, can we read “The Gruffalo” again tonight?” my three year old daughter asks me right before bed. I have heard this phrase every night this week, but since my daughter has discovered British author Julia Donaldson, I don’t groan at the thought of another repeat. Not only were Donaldson’s books quick to become a favorite of both of my children, but my husband and I are avid fans too. For once, there are books that I don’t mind reading time and time again.
Who Is She?
Donaldson started her career in drama and singing/songwriting for children’s television. After one of her songs was made into a children’s book, her career as an author took off. Now the author of over 60 picture books and books for older readers, Donaldson has become a household name throughout the United Kingdom.
What makes Donaldson so great? Why should you add her books to your child’s growing book collection?
To begin with, her picture books include incredible rhythm and rhyme scheme that catches the attention of young children and adults alike. My three year old daughter will often finish sentences or whole pages, just from looking at the pictures or hearing a phrase. The pages and story flow together beautifully, and each rhyme will catch the reader’s attention. The song-like quality of the writing also lends itself to reading aloud.
The stories themselves shouldn’t be forgotten either. Donaldson has a way of creating unique characters stuck in unique situations. The resolution of these situations is almost always entertaining for children and adults find themselves going “A-Ha!” in response as well. Even though we know what is going to happen next in “Room on the Broom” it doesn’t stop my husband and I from raising our voices in excitement as we read the pages aloud.
Finally, the publishers of Donaldson’s work know what they are doing. Pairing her with perfect illustrators, ideal for the work at hand, has made the pages of her children’s books a joy to pour through with children of all ages. Illustrator Axel Sheffler has worked with Donaldson on one of her most famous books, “The Gruffalo” as well as others. The illustrations perfectly complement Donaldson’s enchanting text and truly bring the stories to life.
Julia Donaldson’s books are without a doubt the new children’s classics, destined to be remembered and cherished by children and adults alike.