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The Gruffalo: Scent Kit Brings Story To Life For Visually Impaired

March 17, 2021

A charity for the blind and partially sighted has produced a scent kit to accompany popular children’s storybook The Gruffalo.

Guide Dogs UK has created a kit of nasal inhalers to represent the Gruffalo and the four creatures who meet him, Snake, Fox, Owl and Mouse.

Mouse smells like cupcakes, Fox has the scent of freshly cut grass, Owl is a cup of tea and Snake has a smoky scent.

The Gruffalo has a leathery, farmyard smell evoking the deep, dark wood.

The much-loved story, written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler, was first published in 1999.

It has sold more than 13 million copies, winning several prizes for children’s literature, and has been developed into plays on the West End and Broadway. It has also been adapted as an Oscar-nominated animated film.

‘Really fun’

Josie, eight, from Bath, said it was “really exciting” testing out the scent kit with her brother Wolf and father Roger Whalley.

She had a stroke at birth resulting in brain damage that caused cerebral vision impairment.

Josie said: “It’s exciting and really fun to listen to the story with the smells, it’s great to imagine the scenes with the scents.

“My favourite was the owl smell but the worst was the Gruffalo, which smelt like my dog’s poo.”

Mr Whalley said: “This concept is fantastic, it meant that Josie and her brother, who has no visual impairments, were equal.

“It’s a completely new way of experiencing the story where Josie talks about her imagination and discusses it with her brother – it’s very inclusive and we all loved it.”

Working with publishers Macmillan Children’s Books and Magic Light Pictures, Guide Dogs UK is giving 150 scent kits to families with visually impaired children that it supports.

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