i was initially a bit iffy about spending $xx per ticket for a one-hour stage production with the kids, but i figured if i could spend $xxx on one ticket to watch a music concert, then it’s only fair that i do the same for them. you know, for the sake of, er, The Arts and such… (and you can tell from the over-fussing of little ‘sweethearts’ and ‘darlings’, chanel/prada-toting ‘patrons of the arts’ in the audience that they could afford plenty more ‘culture’ than me.)
i’ve only recently warmed up to Julia Donaldson’s children’s books, having previously always resisted the ubiquitous (somewhat ‘over-commercialised’) The Gruffalo. i really can’t explain the resistance, except that i was suspicious that the eponymous creature so resembled the ones in Maurice Sendak’s Where The Wild Things Are, and therefore, a derivative, i.e. Not Original. (i can be such a snoot.)
BUT. i did eventually pick it up (out of curiosity at its overwhelming popularity), and then her other works (The Gruffalo’s Child, etc), and what can i say – they really ARE quite brilliant. AND oh-so-English. i think what works especially well are her clever, clever rhymes, the adventurous streak of the protagonists, and the story lines with a twist that somehow always end with just the right rhyming word without seeming too contrived. (and btw, The Gruffalo has none of the dark undertones like in Where The Wild Things Are, i.e. Not Unoriginal).
i guess you’ll know a good book when your kids spout random lines from it, memorise the plot sequence, and notice minute details in the illustrations – which was what happened with auni after readings of Stick Man. and to see a well-loved book come to life on theatre is to complete her experience (in 4D, no less).
thankfully, the stage adaptation of Stick Man we saw had enough humour to appeal to both children and adults (and is oh-so-English!), so hmm, ok i didn’t feel too bad about that burnt hole in me pocket.