Published on October 1st, 2019 | by Sam Rose
Watch Out! Gruffalo Special Stamps Are About!
The Royal Mail are paying tribute to the 20th anniversary of the popular children’s book The Gruffalo this October with the release of Gruffalo Special Stamps!
2019 marks the 20th anniversary of the Gruffalo, a children’s picture book created in 1999 between the creative mind of writer Julia Donaldson and talented illustrator Axel Scheffler.
The book soon gained immense popularity, becoming an international bestseller in the process and selling around 13 million copies worldwide and has been translated into 81 different languages.
Not restricted to a printed children’s book, The Gruffalo has spread over the years into other areas such as collectible coins, a featured film amongst other merchandise and collectibles.
To celebrate this landmark anniversary, the Royal Mail have commissioned a collection of six Gruffalo Special Stamps which tell the whimsical story of a Gruffalo, a mouse and predators of the forest in a chronological fashion.
The Story of The Gruffalo
The unique premise of The Gruffalo story derives from its use of rhyming couplets, depicting an entertaining story themed around the ideology of ‘Brains over Brawn’.
In the story, a mouse takes a journey through a deep dark wood and encounters several potentially dangerous predators lurking within.
To avoid being eaten by each predator the mouse meets whilst traversing through the woodlands, the mouse tells each of the animals he encounters that he is on his way to meet the mysterious Gruffalo.
In order to escape the clutches of each of these predators however, the mouse has to convince them that the Gruffalo will eat them, whilst concocting fictionary recipes containing each animal he comes across in order to scare them into letting him carry on his travels freely.
Once the mouse makes it past each predator’s clutches, he become startled to discover that the Gruffalo is real and is at first shaken by the sight of the gigantic beast!
But realising how his woven tales had helped him survive in the wilderness up until this point, the mouse boldly claims that he is the most feared of the creatures in the wood, branding himself as ‘the Big Bad Mouse’ to the Gruffalo.
The Gruffalo, whilst bemused at first, agrees to accompany the mouse back through the woods in order to see for himself the proof that the mouse is someone to be truly fearful of.
When walking back on the path the mouse originally took, each predator in turn sights the approach of The Gruffalo and immediately scarper from the scene!
Seeing this occur, The Gruffalo believes it is indeed the mouse that has caused each of the animals to flee for their safety and rushes off to make his escape too, leaving the mouse to enjoy the now peaceful forest all to himself.
This delightful tale proved so popular that a second book was published in 2004 called The Gruffalo’s Child and features the daughter of the original Gruffalo traversing through the very same woods in order to discover the truth behind if the ‘Big Bad Mouse’ exists, once again being fooled by the mouse into believing it to be true!
Relive the Story of the Gruffalo with Gruffalo Special Stamps
This brand-new collection of 6 special stamps remain true to the classic children’s story, finding the perfect balance between crisp and colourful illustration and fantastical storytelling of the mouse’s big adventure.
Each stamp is laid out in two rows of three, resulting in each of the iconic images working as chronological storyboard whilst introducing each of the supporting characters one at a time.
Take a look at each stamp in detail below:
£1.60 – A mouse took a stroll
The first of these designs features the mouse creeping his way through the forest tentatively, on the constant lookout for danger and menacing predators in the shadows.
Aware of possible adversaries that lie ahead, the mouse can be seen almost on his tip toes taking careful, measured steps before encountering the very first of his foes.
“A mouse took a stroll through the deep dark wood.
A fox saw the mouse, and the mouse looked good.”
£1.60 – Roasted Fox!
This scene depicts the very first of the mouse’s encounters with potential predators, with a fox seemingly blocking his path whilst eyeing up the mouse as a potential source of food.
The mouse can be seen using gestures to describe the appearance of the Gruffalo, with the fox looking on worryingly as the mouse goes on to mention that ‘roasted fox’ is one the Gruffalos favourite dishes.
“Roasted fox! I’m off!” Fox said.
“Goodbye, little mouse,” and away he sped.”
£1.60 – Owl Ice Cream?
After successfully making his way past the cunning Fox, the mouse wanders into the path of a wise Owl, ready to swoop up the mouse to his treetop house to serve as his next tea-time meal.
Once again gesturing towards the owl, the mouse reveals that the Gruffalo has a particular taste for ‘Owl Ice Cream’ as the Owl looks on in a startled fashion.
“Owl ice cream! Toowhit toowhoo!”
“Goodbye, little mouse,” and away Owl flew.”
1st Class – Scrambled Snake!
The fourth of these designs features the mouse growing ever more confident whilst travelling through the forest, before meeting a slippery snake.
The mouse can be seen once again regaling the snake with the Gruffalo’s favourite food recipes, before informing the snake of the Gruffalo’s fondness of ‘Scrambled Snake’.
“Scrambled snake! It’s time I hid!”
“Goodbye, little mouse,” and away Snake slid.”
1st Class – Gruffalo Crumble!
It’s with this stamp design, that the mouse uncovers the truth of the once make-believe creature he invented to scare off many of his foes with – he exists!
While at first the mouse is frightened at being confronted by the large beast, he is able to convincingly turn the tables by insinuating that he is a feared creature in the forest.
Once the Gruffalo follows the mouse back through the forest and visibly scares each of the animals in sight, the mouse tells his final fib to scare off the Gruffalo, telling him that he enjoys a spot of ‘Gruffalo Crumble’
“Well, Gruffalo,” said the mouse. “You see?
Everyone is afraid of me!
But now my tummy’s beginning to rumble.
My favourite food is – gruffalo crumble!”
1st Class – All was quiet in the deep dark wood
In the final of these special stamps designs, the mouse is completely alone whilst sitting on a nearby rock.
Finding a nut at the end of the treacherous path, the mouse takes a moment to realise his bravery and intelligence which helped him make his way past any dangerous foes he encountered.
“All was quiet in the deep dark wood.
The mouse found a nut and the nut was good.”
Other Gruffalo Collectibles Afoot!
Arriving as part of the Gruffalo Special Stamps issue is a plethora of other fun, must own collectibles including a special Miniature Sheet featuring the phenomenal illustrations from illustrator Axel Scheffler.
As a nod to The Gruffalo’s 20th anniversary this year, Royal Mail have commissioned Scheffler to create a set of brand-new artwork vivid with colour, which shows off the Gruffalo along with the other characters that feature within the whimsical tale such as the Owl, the Snake, the Fox and the Mouse.
The scene used as the backdrop for this great collectible item is a synopsis of the main story of the Gruffalo’s main story, with the mouse looking on knowingly amongst the other characters reacting to the presence of the Gruffalo.
This unique Miniature Sheet is included inside of the Gruffalo Presentation Pack, a neatly presented collection of all six of the Gruffalo Special Stamps plus the Miniature Sheet.
Not only that, but it contains some additional fun features too including an exclusive Snakes and Ladders game and an interactive exercise on the reverse of the pack which challenges you on ‘How well you know The Gruffalo’.
Other collectibles included as part of the Gruffalo Special Stamps issue are:
• A Stamp Card Pack containing each of the six featured designs in full-framed detail.
• A Framed Stamp Set featuring all six Gruffalo Special Stamps individually mounted together featuring the official Gruffalo logo
• A Framed Miniature Sheet containing the unique Miniature Sheet from this issue in a high quality frame for display.
• A Coin Cover featuring the Miniature Sheet and the extremely popular uncirculated 50p collectible coin released earlier this year.