Are her books popular in your house? Surely, if you have young children, you have at least 1 Julia book? It’s an assumption that I make, as we have so very many of her books, and they are absolutely adored here! We shared our favourite books in a post earlier this week, and Julia Donaldson titles cropped up a lot. Which is why we made the trip into Birmingham this week to visit A Squash and a Squeeze: Sharing Stories with Julia Donaldson. We took Nanny with us and the husband was more than a little jealous, but he had to work! It was such a magical afternoon, so I’m hoping to be able to give you a flavour of it.
The exhibition was set up in a huge room, all broken up into segments and sections devoted to her books. As you’ll see, both of the children liked checking out the illustrations all over the walls, where many of her titles were represented across different areas..
Now, I was excited just to see the murals, and then dotted all around them where snippets of information about Julia, the illustrators she’s worked with, her processes, career and so on. Naturally, I was chasing round after Little Man most of the time, so I didn’t get to read a lot of this, which is a shame as I’d have enjoyed it. Maybe I should go back for an afternoon without the kids?!
Some of Axel Scheffler’s early sketches for A Squash and a Squeeze and Julia’s notes when writing The Smartest Giant in Town.
If it was just loads of pictures on walls, with information and the books, I’d have been happy, but it was considerably more interactive than that – just what the children wanted! There were stories being told on TV’s dotted around, building blocks, toys and Lego available, several tables you could sit and draw at or do jigsaw puzzles, you could go into Stick Man’s tree, squeeze in with the animals in the old ladies house, sit in Cave baby’s cave, wander through the forest where the Gruffalo lives and touch his knobbly knees and purple prickles, make big shadows like the clever little mouse did in The Gruffalo’s Child – you get the idea!
And then there was the dressing up…
I loved the dressing up! Unfortunately, only the pirate’s hat seemed to be appropriate for me to try on, but we made sure the kids tried other things! Boo was very excited to become the Gruffalo’s Child, though I have to be honest and say that I’m not sure that Little Man even noticed that he had become ‘The Ladybird’! There were plenty more costumes to try, all over the place, and there was a big stage to perform upon if you fancied it, too – obviously Boo did have a little go there, resplendent in a princess costume, along with a fox’s tail…!
As you can probably tell from the photos and my enthusiasm, it was a really lovely, fun afternoon out. It runs until 3rd November, so if you’ve little fans in your house and you’re not too far away, I’d definitely recommend that you pop in.
Do you have a favourite Julia Donaldson book? Is it the same one that your kids would choose?! I think I’d have to go with Stick Man, though as I’ve typed that a handful of other titles have immediately popped into my head as other contenders, so I’ll sign off now before I look ridiculously indecisive…;-)