Sharing Stories With Julia Donaldson
Whenever I see a list of favourite children’s authors Julia Donaldson is right up there at the top. Her picture books are perfect. Funny, clever, easy to read, loveable characters, a delight for old and young alike. they are the fairy stories of our age. So to be able to take the girls to an exhibition based on our favourite books was brilliant.
The exhibition, which is called A Squash and a Squeeze, Sharing Stories With Julia Donaldson is on at the Birmingham Museum in the Glass Hall until the 20th November – so there is plenty of time to go. If your children love Julia Donaldson books then it is well worth a day trip.
Everything about the exhibition is designed for children. It is a visual feast with different areas designated for each book. The walls are painted with the illustrations and passages from the book. There are lots of fun activities to go with each story. Dressing up was a big favourite with my girls. I was a bit worried rose wouldn’t want to take off the Princess Mirabelle costume.
They also loved the stage which had lots of props and costumes to act out the stories.
The girls loved the Cave Baby room. It had huge boulders made from foam so you can make your own cave.
They played in there for a loooong time.
The exhibition caters for younger children as well. The Toddle waddle area had toy trains to play with and was great for little ones.
My favourite room was The Snail and the Whale and Tiddler area. The bright blue was so eye catching and they are two of my favourite stories. Molly made herself comfortable on top of the whale.
I loved the fact that in each sea there was a quiet area where you could snuggle up with the book to match. In the Tiddler area we read the story and the girls found the fish toys to go with each part.
There were also a couple of areas for colouring in.
It is a fantastic way to bring these well-loved stories to life and a brilliant way to encourage reading for enjoyment.
For adults there were lots of interesting things on the walls, including original sketches and art work as well as fascinating pages from Julia Donaldon’s notebooks. Can you guess which book this comes from?
Of course the main o=attraction had to be The Gruffalo and this areaddidn’t disappoint, with a life size Gruffalo
The girls loved dressing up as mini gruffalos.
This is a superb day out and a great first taste of museum visiting for young children. Although it isn’t free, the £20 for a family of 4 seems reasonable. I was impressed with how long it held the children’s attention. There are so many different ares and such a variety of things to do it is perfect for young children, with naturally short attention spans. I would say it’s worth getting there easy, when it opens at ten, as it did get busy around midday and it was lovely to be able to build a cave or read a story in peace.
In the afternoon we went to see Room on a Broom the live show. This was brilliant and the perfect addition to our morning. The show follows the plot of the book but with lively songs and hilarious ad-libs. which add to the story.
There is a brilliant combination of puppetry and acting which seems magical. There is no flying but you really feel the characters are on a broomstick. The play lasts an hour with no interval. This is perfect for little ones as an interval would break the spell. My twins are only just three and they sat there the whole time, totally absorbed in what was going on. They loved the characters and cried when it was over. It was a great introduction to the theatre. For adults there are enough jokes to keep them entertained, especially the last one, which I won’t spoil but still has me chuckling.
Unfortunately this is no longer running in Birmingham but there is a Uk tour until December and it’s worth travelling to get there. You can see tour dates here. We have been to a number of productions by Tall Stories, including The Gruffalo’s Child and they have all been excellent.
If you love The Gruffalo then you might like this Gruffalo craft activity we did earlier in the year.
To see another blogger review look here:
Disclaimer: We were given family tickets for the exhibition and the theatre. The views expressed are my own and are honest.