China Daily (Hong Kong) - - HK | CULTURE - Con­tact the writer at eve­lyn@chi­nadai­lyhk.com

e has ter­ri­ble tusks, and t e r r i b l e c l aw s , a n d t e r - ri­ble teeth in his ter­ri­ble jaws.” That’s Gruf­falo for those who may not have young chil­dren at home. The Gruf­falo se­ries of books has never been too far away from the bed­side of 3-to-5-year-old chil­dren in re­cent times. They have sold over 13.5 mil­lion copies in over 70 lan­guages.

Gruf­falo’s cre­ator Ju­lia Don­ald­son is now the best-sell­ing au­thor of chil­dren’s books in the UK, six years in a row, ahead even of the Harry Pot­ter writer J.K. Rowl­ing. In Jan­uary 2017 Don­ald­son will be in Hong Kong for a show based on the Gruf­falo se­ries. The play was a sell-out at the Ed­in­burgh Fringe in 2015 and Strat­ford, Ox­ford and Bris­tol in 2016. Don­ald­son, who used to be a trav­el­ling mu­si­cian when she was younger, will be a part of the five­mem­ber, all-Bri­tish cast on stage.

The story is about a cun­ning mouse who goes strolling deep in­side a dark wood. On the way she is met with a succession of hun­gry preda­tors — owl, snake and fox. She how­ever man­ages to scare them all away by claim­ing she has a friend, a ter­ri­fy­ing-look­ing mon­ster called Gruf­falo.

“I think the char­ac­ter is pop­u­lar in so many coun­tries and re­gions be­cause per­haps it has a univer­sal story — the story about how a small, phys­i­cally weak crea­ture could use her brains to de­feat much stronger an­i­mals,” said Don­ald­son.

The pro­lific chil­dren’s book au­thor has pub­lished around 200 ti­tles, in­clud­ing Mon­keyPuz­zle, Roomon­theB­room,The SmartestGiantinTown theWhale.

“I would not write a story as a les­son, to teach chil­dren. But a good story nor­mally does have a mes­sage,” said Don­ald­son. “When you write a story, of course it’s not just about ad­ven­tures. When you have some moral prin­ci­ples some­how it would come out in the story. Many of my sto­ries are about shar­ing and be­ing gen­er­ous to other peo­ple.”

Gruf­falo’s young fans in Hong Kong are ea­gerly await­ing the show to ar­rive in the city. Darcy Goul­ston, a 9-year-old, said she liked the book be­cause the mouse was “co­me­dian evil”. An­other kid, Harry Suen, also 9, said he sim­ply liked the crea­ture be­cause of “the pur­ple pick­les all over his back”. TheS­nai­land

Now young Darcy is wait­ing for the mo­ment when “you see the story of Gruf­falo played on stage and you see it run­ning in front of your face and it’s just amaz­ing”.

I am wait­ing for the mo­ment ... when you see it run­ning in front of your face and it’s just amaz­ing.” I would not write a story as a les­son, to teach chil­dren. But a good story nor­mally does have a mes­sage.” I sim­ply like the crea­ture be­cause of the pur­ple pick­les all over his back.”

Darcy Goul­ston, Gruf­falo fan Gruf­falo writer Ju­lia Don­ald­son will be a part of the all-Bri­tish cast per­form­ing her story in Hong Kong in Jan­uary. Ju­lia Don­ald­son, writer, Gruf­falo se­ries Harry Suen, Gruf­falo fan

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