One story, five ways │#Jobookchat

I adore storytelling of any kind, and the most obvious way to share this passion with the children is to sit down and read books together. But books are far from the only way to enjoy a story.

I know that not all little ones will want to sit and listen to a story from a book, but this definitely doesn't mean you can't explore storytelling together. I realised the other day that over the years we have, in fact, experienced the story of The Gruffalo five different ways! This certainly isn’t an exhaustive list of how you might enjoy storytelling together, just the 5 ways we have enjoyed this particular story.

1) Picture book
Like I said, the most obvious way to share a story is through a book. We have a lot of books in our house, but you don’t have to spend a lot, or even any money, to do this. Libraries, or even charity shops, tend to have a great selection. How about trying a book swap with some of your friends?

We actually have a couple of versions of The Gruffalo.  We have both a board book and a paperback version. This meant the children could explore the book when they were younger, without them tearing the pages. And now my 4 year old enjoys the paperback - “board books are for babies!”. We also have a version where some of the pictures are jigsaws. We spend a long time reading, using different voices and exploring the pictures or doing the jigsaws depending on which copy we are looking at.

2) Audiobook
We have a set of Julia Donaldson audiobooks in the car, and The Gruffalo is among them. The CDs were a birthday present but came from The BookPeople, and I think a lot of libraries have audiobooks these days too. The Gruffalo actually isn’t the kids favourite (that’s The Smartest Giant in Town) but it does give them the story with different voices and means they are kept occupied whilst I can concentrate on driving. There’s one slight issue for me in that each story from the box set is on a different disc - which is no good on a long journey when there’s no one in the passenger seat to switch the disc. We end up listening to the same story on a loop for a very long time! Excellent on short journeys though. 

3) Walk
We went to the Gruffalo woodland trail at Wendover Woods back in 2017 to celebrate Benjamin's 1st birthday. I’ve written about it in more depth here but in short - the trail itself was free, we paid for a trail pack, we enjoyed being outside in the fresh air, the accompanying app was great fun, it’s very visual, and a great option if your child doesn’t have a long attention span and is reluctant to sit still long enough to read through a whole story.

4) Animation
The BBC produced an animation of The Gruffalo back in 2009. It's currently available on Amazon Prime so we've watched it quite a few times. It’s not necessarily my favourite way to enjoy a story as a family, but a bit of screen time can’t hurt. My children seem to have quite vivid imaginations, and are quite dramatic in thier reinactments of various stories, but little brains get tired pretty quickly, and some days I just need to keep them entertained whilst I get some stuff done, so this short animation is ideal.

5) Theatre
We bought tickets to see The Gruffalo in London in January 2017 and we were hoping to go as a family. I had previously taken the children alone to see Stickman at the Corn Exchange in Newbury. The Corn Exchange were excellent and I bought one adult ticket, one children’s ticket, and as he was only a few months old I paid a small “baby in arms’ fee for my son. It seems that London Theatres aren’t quite so accommodating! Reluctant to pay full price for a 7 month old, my friend and I took my daughter to the theater, and my husband took my soon for a stroll around a park. Anyway, I digress. The stage show was great. The characters were developed quite differently to how I imagined and there were a couple of interesting little surprises even for those who have read the book on a daily basis for the last few years! Theater tickets definitely aren’t cheap though (especially in London) and add the travel costs on top of that, and it becomes a pricey day out for a family.  


What am I missing? What are your favourite ways to share a story with your children?

Gruffalo statue