Reviewed by Nina Chester
Sometimes you see something that you have to have, its perfect and ticks all the boxes. Well for me The Gruffalo 2020 Family Planner was exactly that.
Who needs a calendar in October? Well I did. As November had decided to part company with the staples and take December with it. I needed it now but I needed it to last next year as well.
I take great care each year in buying the right calendar for us. We all have busy lives from the oldest to the youngest; and a calendar needs to help you organize and plan accordingly. But as it will spend a year at the center of family life it must be robust, functional and agreeable to all its users.
So why did I like this teNeuse, The Gruffalo, one so much? I must say I was initially attracted because I like the story so very much. The Gruffalo was based on a Chinese folk tale ‘the fox that borrows the terror of the tiger’ but in the amazing and unique way that Julia Donaldson has of storytelling, she wrote a story in 700 words for three to seven year old’s in rhyming couplets that tells of a mouse outwitting woodland creatures’ all of whom want to eat him. The mouse then uses his story telling skills to frighten the monster and he lives to tell the tale. I like the fact that if you are brave, never mind how small you are, or how frightened you feel, you can overcome the greatest of odds. Children are small and the world can be frightening, but keep calm and carry on is a good moral tale.
However never mind how good the story or how beautiful the now iconic illustrations by Axel Scheffler were, if this calendar wasn’t functional and totally practical it now wouldn’t be hanging on my kitchen wall. The key features of this calendar that I feel sets it apart is its size almost 70cm long and 30cm wide. Divided into five columns so that up to 5 people or in my case four people and the dog get a row of their own. The month is large at the top and the dates run down the planner on the left-hand side, there, each day everyone has their own space 5x1cm and across the bottom, beautifully illustrated is a notes area. The illustrations are in line with the seasons, snow covered branches for December and sky blue for July. And acorns in October, a new talking point every month for a small child or a whimsical pleasure for the adults using the planner. The very best features of this planner are two-fold, a sticker sheet which is aimed at a school aged child the word school appears a lot. And may be not enough doctor / dentist stickers if five people go to the dentist six monthly that’s ten stickers needed. But the stickers are just a bit of fun and not essential once again they are all Gruffalo themed. Saving the best to last, it’s the pocket across the bottom that made this a winner; no more hunting for a pen or wondering where that appointment card went. Its all so cleverly and neatly to hand. We are using this brilliant 17-month schoolyear planner fully in spite of the fact the youngest child in our household is twenty-five. Does a nine-year-old dog count. After all he has his own space.
I can’t recommend this enough.
Perfect for you and would definitely made a good Christmas gift for mums.
Available to buy from www.waterstones.com.