The short film which I’m reviewing today has a slightly younger target audience than my usual subjects, but that doesn’t change the fact that it was one of the best things that I watched all Christmas. I could say something pithy about my inner child here, but actually I think it has more to do with the fact that it’s narrated by Helena Bonham Carter (say what you like, in my eyes the woman can do no wrong!).
The Gruffalo’s Child is based on the picture book by Julia Donaldson and is the sequel to her bestselling book turned short film The Gruffalo. For those who haven’t seen that, watch it before reading: it’s wonderful, and the sequel won’t make much sense without having seen it! And the all-star cast, including Rob Brydon as Snake, Robbie Coltrane as the eponymous Gruffalo and James Cordon as the quick-witted hero Mouse, returns for the sequel, joined by Shirley Henderson as the Gruffalo’s Child.
At the beginning of the film, the Gruffalo tells his daughter the story of the Big Bad Mouse, making it clear that he has lived in fear of the tiny creature since the end of the original. But his child, less fearful and more sceptical than her father (and perhaps believing the story to be no more than a cautionary tale to keep her out of the woods), sets off to find this terrifying creature, meeting our old friends Snake, Owl and Fox along the way. I won’t give away the ending, but I will say this: Mouse proves to be just as adept at thinking on his feet as in the original, with hilarious results.
Created for children though it may be, the charming illustrations and delightful rhymes of The Gruffalo’s Child is a treat for people of all ages. (And there was me thinking that I could finish this review without being pithy!)
The Gruffalo’s Child can be viewed on BBC iPlayer until 7:54PM on Friday 6th January.