The Gruffalo has been a favourite character of kids around the world for many years now – and he’s so recognisable with his quirky looks.
The prickly beast with sharp teeth and a yellow wart on the end of his nose first captured hearts in a book of the same name written by author and playwright Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler in 1999.
Aimed at children between the ages of three and seven, Julia’s original magical tale was written charmingly in rhyming couplets and is around 700 words long.
“A mouse took a stroll through the deep dark wood.
A fox saw the mouse and the mouse looked good.
‘Where are you going to, little brown mouse?
‘Come and have tea in my underground house.’
‘It’s terribly kind of you, Fox, but no –
‘I’m going to have lunch with the Gruffalo.'”
The Gruffalo story takes inspiration from a Chinese folktale about a girl who tricks a tiger into believing she’s the queen of the jungle in a bid to scare him off.
Because she couldn’t think of a word that rhymed with ‘tiger’, Julia decided to centre her book around a mouse who encounters a snake, owl and fox as he wanders through the woods.
Each animal attempts to lure the mouse back to their home but he cunningly manages to evade danger by telling them he’s off to meet a fictitious monster named a Gruffalo – a mix between a grizzly bear and a buffalo.
Later on, the mouse is terrified when he comes face-to-face with a real Gruffalo, who also expresses a desire to eat him. The quick-thinking mouse is then forced to embark on a quest to prove that he’s the toughest creature in the deep, dark forest to avoid been eaten.
As a result of the first book’s popularity, Julia went on to write a sequel titled The Gruffalo’s Child. Both have since been turned into animated films with a star-studded cast including James Corden, Helena Bonham Carter, Rob Brydon and John Hurt.
If you’d like to have a go at making a loveable Gruffalo toy, we have an exclusive triple-checked knitting pattern we know you’ll enjoy creating.
With his claws, tusks and softly spiked back, our kids’ toy measures around 25cm tall and is knitted in stocking stitch with extra embroidered details.
The Gruffalo is also the star of our adorable green and blue kids’ knitted top which makes the perfect winter warmer for children.
See our useful tips on finishing your Gruffalo.