In January, twenty Gruffalo soft toys were sent on a global journey as part of the Horsham District Year of Culture 2019, established by Horsham District Council. In partnership with Magic Light Pictures, the Gruffalo initiative was created to celebrate the 20th anniversary of The Gruffalo book in 2019, written by the popular local children’s author Julia Donaldson CBE, and illustrated by Axel Scheffler.
The toys, specially made for the project as Global Gruffalos, have been sponsored by 20 Horsham District businesses and, in the first six months of the year, their travels have taken them far and wide, from Switzerland to Saudi Arabia, to Italy, America, the Caribbean Islands and beyond.
The most theatrically cultured of all the Global Gruffalo was Gruffalo 13, sponsored by The Capitol Horsham in West Sussex. This Gruffalo, which was on tour with the Birmingham Stage Company this month, has mysteriously disappeared during a break-in at the Eden Court Theatre in Inverness.
Was the Gruffalo stolen or did he take this opportunity to escape into the Scottish Highlands to search for his ancestors?
Julia Donaldson CBE, a Scot herself and creator of The Gruffalo, has been following the 20 Gruffalos’ travels with interest. Advised of this latest development, she said: “This is very intriguing. I wonder what adventures Gruffalo 13 is up to now. It has set me thinking about a third Gruffalo book – The Mystery of the Stolen Gruffalo, perhaps? Maybe I could cast the Mouse as the detective….”
Organisers of the Gruffalo initiative stated: “We await eagerly any further developments from Julia Donaldson but in the meantime Horsham District Council is putting out a call to see if we can find the whereabouts of this missing little Gruffalo. Hopefully he is having fun in the Highlands. If anyone sees him please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Let’s find Gruffalo 13 and return him to his home in The Capitol theatre, Horsham before he gets into any further trouble!”
Fans of The Gruffalo can follow the exploits of the Global Gruffalos by visiting www.globalgruffalo.co.uk or on Social Media @GlobalGruffalo, or using the #GlobalGruffalo.