Famous Children’s Author Brings The Gruffalo To Chatham Dockyard – 15th Feb to 1st June 2014

Creative and Art Events


The Historic Dockyard Chatham opens for the 2014 season on Saturday 15th February with the perfect exhibition for families – “A Squash and a Squeeze: Sharing Stories with Julia Donaldson”, running until 1st June.

Julia Donaldson, author of children’s modern classics such as The Gruffalo, Room on the Broom, Princess Mirror-Belle and The Troll, has worked with Seven Stories National Centre for Children’s Books to bring these best-selling children’s captivating stories to life, allowing visitors to enter the imagination of this much loved author and discover how she inspires her readers with story, rhyme and rhythm.

Julia’s journey can be followed from song writer for children’s television to Children’s Laureate 2011-2013. Families can share stories, cuddle the Gruffalo, crawl into the Squash and a Squeeze House, climb into Cave Baby’s cave and enjoy dressing up, looking in the funny mirrors. They can follow in Toddle Waddle’s footsteps, and even sing-a-long to her songs on Julia’s Jukebox or perform a play on the special stage! Visitors can view the amazing original artwork by her many illustrators – most famously Axel Scheffler, but also Lydia Monks, David Roberts, Nick Sharratt, Karen George and Emily Gravett – a must for any art enthusiast.

Pam Wood, Visitor Services Manager at The Historic Dockyard Chatham said; “This is going to be the perfect experience for both the young and the young at heart. We are so privileged to have Julia Donaldson’s work here at Chatham and we cannot wait to see the little ones having a “squash and a squeeze” with the Gruffalo in the gallery, not to mention listening to them during our various musical story telling sessions during the school holidays!”

About the exhibition, Julia Donaldson said; “I am thrilled that my work, and that of my illustrators, is to be presented in such a stimulating and child-friendly way, with so many mini-words and activities. Because of my love of drama and song, I am particularly excited about the theatre and the juke box!”

Kate Edwards, Chief Executive at Seven Stories said; “We are delighted to be working with Julia to bring many of her much loved stories and characters to life within this exhibition in ground breaking and interactive ways. We will also explore the importance of rhythm and rhyme in language acquisition. This not to be missed exhibition will delight her huge following of fans and will also attract new audiences to her ever popular books and songs.” Seven Stories explores the impact sharing stories has on child development through learning projects in partnership with Action for Children and children with hearing impairments.

The Historic Dockyard will be running a number of engaging and exciting school holiday family activities, all inspired by A Squash and a Squeeze exhibition:

Books, Glorious Books: 15 February – 23 February
Brilliant books are brought to life with musical storytelling and craft activities. Make your own peg Freddy or Fairy!

Monkey Business: 5 April – 19 April
Musical activities, Monkey Puzzle storytelling and the chance to produce your own paper primate!

Marvellous Monsters: 24 May – 1 June
Monster story telling with a musical difference! Make your own monster mask and take part in a ‘Monster Safari’.

A Squash and A Squeeze: Sharing Stories with Julia Donaldson runs from 15th February until 1st June in No. Smithery: The Gallery and is included in the normal dockyard admission price. All tickets are valid for a year, giving families the opportunity to visit again and again.

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