Gruffalo author Julia Donaldson brings The Illustrators to the Park Gallery in Falkirk

By Claire Smyth | 24 March 2011
Illustration of a cartoon Gruffalo character in a wood
Gruffalo comes to Falkirk© Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler
Exhibition: The Illustrators, Park Gallery, Callendar House, Callendar Park, Falkirk, until May 2 2011

Helena Bonham Carter narrated the voice of the mother squirrel, and Rob Brydon played the snake in the animated film adaptation of children’s book writer Julia Donaldson’s The Gruffalo.

In 2007, then-Prime Minister Gordon Brown told Radio 4 that Donaldson and Scheffler’s The Snail and the Whale was one of his favourite five books of all time.

But it was Donaldson’s collaboration with illustrator Axel Scheffler telling the story of a clever mouse who evades three animals of prey by alluding to an imaginary Gruffalo that won her the prestigious Gold Award in the 1999 Nestlé Smarties Book Prize.

Now an exhibition in Falkirk unwraps the secret of this success with a range of original works, preparatory sketches and ideas by Scheffler and other illustrators who have worked with Donaldson.

Illustration of a witch riding a Blue Peter-style flying boat above the sea
The author has won a number of awards including Blue Peter's Best Illustrated Book to Read Aloud
As well as bringing us illustrations from her books, Donaldson also allows us an insight into her relationship with Scheffler by including a unique display of envelopes.

“I think my postman has a more interesting life than most, because every time Axel writes to me he decorates the envelope, often involving the stamp in a witty way, like turning Prince William into a giant,” she says.

“Sometimes the postman has to search for my name and address, as when Axel wrote them on various bricks being played with by the Gruffalo’s Child.”

  • Open 10am-4pm Monday-Saturday. Admission free.
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